FDU: Jersey Residents Support Teaching Climate Change in Schools

Two years ago, New Jersey became the first state in the union to require public schools to teach students about climate change, as early as kindergarten, and throughout their classes, even in physical education. According to the latest results from the FDU Poll, Jersey residents overwhelmingly support required education about climate change, with 70 percent of residents favoring it, and concerns that it might upset children having no impact on their views.

“At the time, this was seen as kind of a far-left policy,” said Dan Cassino, a professor of Government and Politics at FDU, and the director of the poll. “But two years later, this might be one of the Murphy administration’s most popular measures.”

When the curricular requirement was introduced, there were concerns about uneven funding for the mandate; today, objections more frequently come in the name of climate anxiety (also called eco-anxiety), a feeling of distress and helplessness that can arise from awareness of the dire state of climate change. To see whether concerns about climate anxiety changed how Jersey residents view the issue, an experiment was embedded in the survey. Half of respondents were asked whether they approved of teaching children about climate change, and told that some people oppose it; the other half were told that there were concerns that it could upset children. However, there is not a statistically significant difference in responses between the two groups, indicating that bringing up climate anxiety doesn’t change how people feel about the instruction.

“Maybe people don’t think climate anxiety is something to be worried about,” said Cassino. “Or maybe they think kids should be a little scared. Either way, it doesn’t move the needle.”

Democrats are more likely than other partisan groups to approve of the climate change curriculum mandate, with 96 percent saying that the instruction should be required. What’s surprising is the extent to which independents and Republicans support it: 65 percent of independents say that schools should teach about climate change, with only 34 percent opposing. Republicans are evenly split on the issue, with 45 percent supporting, and 45 percent opposing. Issues like this also generally divide people based on education, but Jersey residents with a college degree are only a little more likely (75 percent) to approve of the mandate than those without (67 percent). Older and younger residents are equally likely to approve of the requirement.

“We don’t have a lot of non-partisan issues in New Jersey,” said Cassino. “Given that we can’t even agree that climate change is real, it’s striking how little division there is on this issue.”

Methodology

The survey was conducted between April 28 and May 6, 2023, using a certified list of adult New Jersey residents carried out by Braun Research of Princeton, New Jersey. Lists of residents were obtained from Aristotle International of Washington, DC. Respondents were randomly chosen from the list, and contacted via either live caller telephone interviews, or text-to-web surveys sent to cellular phones, resulting in an overall sample of 817 respondents. 239 of the surveys were carried out via live caller telephone interviews on landlines, and the remainder (578) were done on a web platform via weblinks sent via SMS to cell phones, or via live caller cell phone interviews. Surveys were conducted only in English.

The data were weighted to be representative of the population of adult NJ residents, as of the 2020 US Census. The weights used, like all weights, balance the demographic characteristics of the sample to match known population parameters. The weighted results used here are balanced to match parameters for sex, age, education and race/ethnicity.

SPSSINC RAKE, an SPSS extension module that simultaneously balances the distributions of all variables using the GENLOG procedure, was used to produce final weights. Weights were trimmed to prevent individual interviews from having too much influence on the final results. The use of these weights in statistical analysis helps to ensure that the demographic characteristics of the sample approximate the demographic characteristics of the target population. The size of these weights is used to construct the measure of design effects, which indicate the extent to which the reported results are being driven by the weights applied to the data, rather than found in the data itself. Simply put, these design effects tell us how many additional respondents would have been needed to get the weighted number of respondents across weighted categories: larger design effects indicate greater levels of under-representation in the data. In this case, calculated design effects are approximately 1.4.

All surveys are subject to sampling error, which is the expected probable difference between interviewing everyone in a population versus a scientific sampling drawn from that population. Sampling error should be adjusted to recognize the effect of weighting the data to better match the population. In this poll, the simple sampling error for 817 residents is +/-3.5 percentage points, at a 95 percent confidence interval. Including the design effects, the margin of error would be +/-4.7 percentage points, though the figure not including them is much more commonly reported.

This error calculation does not take into account other sources of variation inherent in public opinion studies, such as non-response, question wording, differences in translated forms, or context effects. While such errors are known to exist, they are often unquantifiable within a particular survey, and all efforts, such as randomization and extensive pre-testing of items, have been used to minimize them.

 

Weighted Telephone Sample Characteristics

817 New Jersey Residents

Figures are weighted to overall voter characteristics from the 2020 US Census. Figures do not include individuals who declined to answer demographic items.

 

Man

49%                 N = 399

Woman

50%                 N = 402

Some Other Way

1%                  N = 9

 

18-30

19%           N = 158

31-44

30%                 N = 249

45-64

32%                 N = 252

65+

19%                 N = 150

 

Democrat (with leaners)

44%                 N = 295

Independent

22%                 N = 147

Republican (with leaners)

34%                 N = 230

 

White

55%           N = 449

Black

13%           N = 104

Hispanic/Latino/a

21%           N = 170

Asian

8%           N = 61

Other/Multi-racial

2%           N = 15

 

No college degree

60%           N = 483

College degree or more

40%           N = 321

 

Question Wording and Order

NJ1. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Phil Murphy is handling his job as governor?

  1. Approve
  2. Disapprove
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

[Respondents are randomly assigned to get NJ2A or NJ2B]

NJ2A. In recent months, dead whales and dolphins have washed up on New Jersey beaches. No one is sure why. The deaths have led some people to argue that New Jersey should stop development of off-shore wind farms until we know what’s happening. What do you think? Should we stop the development of off-shore wind farms, or not?

  1. Should stop the development of off-shore wind farms
  2. Development of off-shore wind farms should continue
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ2B. The development of off-shore wind farms off the Jersey Shore has long been controversial. For various reasons, some people want to stop building the wind farms, other people think that they should go forward. What do you think? Should we stop the development of off-shore wind farms, or not?

  1. Should stop the development of off-shore wind farms
  2. Development of off-shore wind farms should continue
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

[Respondents are randomly assigned to get NJ3A or NJ3B]

NJ3A. Currently, students in New Jersey public schools are required to learn about climate change. Some people say that this is an important topic in science and society that children should learn about; others say that learning about climate change might be too upsetting for them. What do you think? Should children be required to learn about climate change in school?

  1. Yes, should be required
  2. No, should not be required
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ3B Currently, students in New Jersey public schools are required to learn about climate change. For various reasons, some people think climate change should not be part of the curriculum. What do you think? Should children be required to learn about climate change in school?

  1. Yes, should be required
  2. No, should not be required
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ4. Do you think that the politicians in New Jersey, on the whole, are…

  1. Not at all corrupt
  2. A little corrupt
  3. Somewhat corrupt
  4. Very corrupt
  5. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  6. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ5. How about the politicians that represent you in state and local government? Would you say they are…

  1. Not at all corrupt
  2. A little corrupt
  3. Somewhat corrupt
  4. Very corrupt
  5. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  6. Refused [Vol]

D1. In politics today, do you consider yourself a Democrat, Republican, Independent, or something else?

  1. Democrat
  2. Republican
  3. Independent  [ASK D1A]
  4. Something Else/Other
  5. DK/Ref

D1A. [Ask only if D1 is 3] Which way do you lean?

  1. Democrat
  2. Republican
  3. Independent
  4. Something Else/Other
  5. DK/Ref

NJ6. [Half get this question before NJ7, half get it after NJ7] Former President Trump is under investigation over several matters and has been indicted for alleged crimes in New York. Do you believe that these investigations are legitimate, or not?

  1. Believe that they’re legitimate
  2. Do not believe that they’re legitimate
  3. Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

[Randomly shuffle order of NJ7A, NJ7B; both only for Republicans and leaners]

 

NJ7A. [Ask only Republicans/lean Republicans] Regardless of who else is running for the Republican nomination, how likely are you to support former President Trump in the Republican Presidential Primary next year?

  1. Will definitely support Trump
  2. Likely to support Trump
  3. Unlikely to support Trump
  4. Will definitely not support Trump
  5. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  6. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ7B. [Ask only Republicans/lean Republicans] Former Governor Christie has been exploring a run for President next year. Regardless of who else is running for the Republican nomination, would you consider voting for Christie in the Republican Presidential primary?

  1. Would consider voting for Christie
  2. Would not consider voting for Christie
  3. Not Sure/Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

 

NJ6. [Half get this question before NJ7, half get it after NJ7] Former President Trump is under investigation over several matters and has been indicted for alleged crimes in New York. Do you believe that these investigations are legitimate, or not?

  1. Believe that they’re legitimate
  2. Do not believe that they’re legitimate
  3. Don’t Know [Vol]
  4. Refused [Vol]

Further questions held for later release

 

Release Tables

 

Should students in New Jersey be required to learn about climate change? [Combined Results; See Question Wording for Differences in prompt]
Overall Dem Indp Rep
Yes, Should be Required 70% 96% 65% 45%
No, Should Not Be Required 23% 2% 34% 45%
Not Sure/ Don’t Know 6% 2% 1% 8%
Refused 1% 0% 0% 2%

 

Should students in New Jersey be required to learn about climate change? [Combined Results; See Question Wording for Differences in prompt]
Overall No College College Degree
Yes, Should be Required 70% 67% 75%
No, Should Not Be Required 23% 24% 22%
Not Sure/ Don’t Know 6% 8% 3%
Refused 1% 1% 0%

 

Should students in New Jersey be required to learn about climate change? [Combined Results; See Question Wording for Differences in prompt]
Under 30 31 to 44 45 to 64 65+
Yes, Should be Required 74% 70% 67% 72%
No, Should Not Be Required 18% 22% 25% 25%
Not Sure/ Don’t Know 8% 5% 7% 3%
Refused 0% 3% 1% 0%

 

Should students in New Jersey be required to learn about climate change?
Overall Anxiety Wording No Anxiety Wording
Yes, Should be Required 70% 73% 68%
No, Should Not Be Required 23% 21% 26%
Not Sure/ Don’t Know 6% 5% 6%
Refused 1% 1% 0%

 

 

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3 responses to “FDU: Jersey Residents Support Teaching Climate Change in Schools”

  1. More college leftist indoctrination! I doubt if they’ll teach how batteries for vehicles are made, and how they wreak havoc on planet Earth with horrible stip mining done many by children, plus the horrific pollution when these batteries are destroyed! The truth is, 97% of scientists do NOT believe in global warming and its effects! The 97% lie has been going on for years and sadly still continues!

  2. Go to China or India and try to get them to abide by climate change doctrine. They will either laugh at you or arrest you.

    How about school stick to reading, writing, math, science, computer science, etc and forget this climate change nonsense.

  3. Greenpeace founder Patrick Moore says that Climate Change is based on FALSE NARRATIVES and is a hoax!!!! He said that Greenpeace was hijacked by the political left when they realized there was money and power in the environmental movement. Far-left political activists in North America and Europe changed Greenpeace from an environmental group to a political group. “The ‘environmental’ movement has become more of a political movement than an environmental movement,” he said. “They are primarily focused on creating narratives, stories, that are designed to instill fear and guilt into the public so the public will send them money.”

    He said they mainly operate behind closed doors with other political operatives at the U.N., World Economic Forum, and so on, all of which are primarily political in nature.

    The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change [IPCC] is “not a science organization,” he said. “It is a political organization composed of the World Meteorological Organization and the United Nations Environment Program.

    “The IPCC hires scientists to provide them with ‘information’ that supports the ‘climate emergency’ narrative.

    Their campaigns against fossil fuels, nuclear energy, CO2, plastic, etc., are misguided and designed to make people think the world will come to an end unless we cripple our civilization and destroy our economy. They are now a negative influence on the future of both the environment and human civilization.”

    “Today, the left has adopted many policies that would be very destructive to civilization as they are not technically achievable. Only look at the looming energy crisis in Europe and the UK, which Putin is taking advantage of. But it is of their own making in refusing to develop their own natural gas resources, opposing nuclear energy, and adopting an impossible position on fossil fuels in general,” Moore wrote.

    “Many [so-called] ‘environmental’ leaders were now saying that ‘humans are the enemies of the Earth, the enemies of Nature.’ I could not accept that humans are the only evil species. This is too much like ‘original sin,’ that humans are born with evil, but all the other species are good, even cockroaches, mosquitos, and diseases,” Moore argued.

    He said the new dominant philosophy is that the world would be better if fewer people existed. “But the people who said this were not volunteering to be the first to go away. They behave as if they are superior to others. This kind of ‘pride’ and ‘conceit’ is the worst of the Cardinal Sins,” Moore said.

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