Research co-led by Mildenberger recognized with AAPOR's Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award for contributions to public opinion research

The American Association of Public Opinion Research (AAPOR) recently awarded its 2018 Warren J. Mitofsky Innovator's Award to the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) for its work to model climate and energy opinions at state and local scales. Matto is one of the project leads on this research project, a long-term research effort he has been spearheading for the past 6 years. Matto's climate and energy downscaling work has resulted in a number of high profile publications, coverage on the front page of the NY Times, and extensive attention within advocacy communities.

The Warren J. Mitofsky Innovators Award recognizes accomplishments in the fields of public opinion and survey research that occurred in the past ten years or that had their primary impact on the field during the past decade. In the award citation, AAPOR commended the team for its use of a "new statistical method to downscale national public opinion estimates using multiple regression and post stratification (MRP) survey data collection methodology."

Research by Stokes published in British Journal of Political Science: Internet voting increases turnout by 3.5 p.p.

Leah Stokes recently published a paper along with Nicole Goodman (Brock University) in the British Journal of Political Science on the use of internet voting. Examining municipal elections in Ontario, Canada and using panel data and fixed effects estimators, the paper finds that internet voting can increase turnout by 3.5 percentage points, with larger increases when vote by mail (VBM) is not yet adopted, and greater use when registration is not required. These estimates suggest that internet voting is unlikely to solve the low turnout crisis, and imply that cost arguments do not fully account for recent turnout declines.

The full paper can be read here and it is published as an open access article.

Research by Mildenberger published in Nature Climate Change: Climate messages' experimental effects vary geographically

Research by Matto Mildenberger and colleagues was just published in Nature Climate Change. The article, entitled "Experimental effects of climate messages vary geographically" was co-authored with Baobao Zhang, Sander van der Linden, Peter Howe, Jennifer Marlon and Anthony Leiserowitz.

This new research examines how the effects of a large-n survey experiment on the scientific climate change consensus varies. Social science scholars routinely evaluate the efficacy of diverse climate frames using local convenience or nationally representative samples. For example, previous research has focused on communicating the scientific consensus on climate change, which has been identified as a ‘gateway’ cognition to other key beliefs about the issue.

Importantly, although these efforts reveal average public responsiveness to particular climate frames, they do not describe variation in message effectiveness at the spatial and political scales relevant for climate policymaking. In this article, Mildenberger and colleagues use a small-area estimation method to map geographical variation in public responsiveness to information about the scientific consensus as part of a large-scale randomized national experiment (n = 6,301). The survey experiment finds that, on average, public perception of the consensus increases by 16 percentage points after message exposure. However, substantial spatial variation exists across the United States at state and local scales. 

Mildenberger and colleagues find responsiveness is highest in more conservative parts of the country, leading to national convergence in perceptions of the climate science consensus across diverse political geographies. These findings not only advance a geographical understanding of how the public engages with information about scientific agreement, but will also prove useful for policymakers, practitioners and scientists engaged in climate change mitigation and adaptation.

You can read the full text of the article here.

Nature Climate Change also published a commentary by GWU political science Professor Chris Warshaw to accompany the paper's release. You can read his commentary here.



Mildenberger's research profiled by Nature Climate Change

NYU Psychology Professor John Jost recently profiled one of Mildenberger's research articles in Nature Climate Change. In his piece, "Understanding belief in climate change," Jost highlights Matto's research on second-order climate beliefs: the beliefs that we hold about the climate beliefs of others.

You can read the Jost piece here. You can also read the British Journal of Political Science article that the news piece is based on here.

New York Times features Stokes' op-ed on climate on cover of website + in print edition

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Leah Stokes wrote an op-ed about the recent disasters in Santa Barbara, connecting them to climate change. The article reminds us that climate change is here now, and affects all of us. If we do not connect the dots and talk about climate change during disasters, we won't change policy. If victims understand that climate change is to blame for their personal tragedies, they may take action to address the growing climate crisis.

You can read the full op-ed here.

New York Times features Mildenberger's climate research on the cover of its website

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New research from Matto Mildenberger, and his co-authors at other universities is on the cover of the New York Times today. For those who are counting, that is twice in one year!

The research demonstrates that a majority of Republicans want climate policy regulation. Further half of all Republicans believe that climate impacts are already happening. This is particularly true along the coasts, where hurricanes and wildfire have intensified.

Research published in Energy Policy: Politics in the U.S. energy transition


Stokes recently published new research with colleague Hanna Breetz in Energy Policy. The article aims to comprehensively document attempts to decarbonize the US energy system, across both the transportation and electricity sectors. Typically, both of these sectors are not examined together in a single research project, creating limitations for what we know about policies driving the energy transition to date.

In this paper, we examine the politics of US state and federal policy supporting wind and solar in the electricity sector and biofuels and electric vehicles in the transportation sector. For each technology, we provide two policy case studies: the federal Production Tax Credit (PTC) and state Renewable Portfolio Standards (RPS) for wind; state Net Energy Metering (NEM) and the federal investment tax credit (ITC) for solar; federal excise tax incentives and the Renewable Fuel Standard (RFS) for biofuels; and California's Zero Emission Vehicle (ZEV) mandate and federal tax incentives for electric vehicles. Each case study traces the enactment and later revision of the policy, typically over a period of twenty-five years.

We use these eight longitudinal case studies to identify common patterns in the politics of US renewable energy policy. Although electricity and transportation involve different actors and technologies, we find similar patterns across these sectors: immature technology is underestimated or misunderstood; large energy bills provide windows of opportunity for enactment; once enacted, policies are extended incrementally; there is increasing politicization as mature technology threatens incumbents.


Research published in British Journal of Political Science: Beliefs about the climate beliefs of others

Research by Matto Mildenberger was just published in the British Journal of Political Science. The article, entitled "Beliefs about climate beliefs: the importance of second-order opinions for climate politics" was co-authored with Dustin Tingley.

The research examines how political participation depends on an individual’s perceptions of others’ beliefs. The article provides the first comprehensive survey of Chinese and American beliefs about the climate belief of others, drawing from six new opinion surveys of mass publics, political elites and intellectual elites.

The research finds that all types of political actors have beliefs characterized by egocentric bias: people who believe in climate change assume more people agree with them; people who disbelieve climate change assume the same.  Both climate change believers and disbelievers also underestimate the share of the US or Chinese publics that believe climate change is happening and support various climate policies.

The article also shows experimentally that individual support for pro-climate policies increases after respondents learn about the true distribution of other peoples' climate beliefs.

You can read the full research article here.

Research published in Climatic Change: Spatial distribution of partisan climate beliefs

New research by Matto Mildenberger was just published in the journal Climatic Change.  Working with co-authors at Yale University and Utah State University, the Matto created the first maps of partisan climate and energy beliefs at the US state and congressional district levels. The research finds substantial variation in Republican climate beliefs - including substantial support among Republicans for some climate policies that appears out of step with elite climate policy messaging within the party.

To read the full research paper, you can click here.

These data are also available for download as part of an interactive visualization tool you can access here:

 New online visualization tool to map Democratic and Republican climate beliefs.

New online visualization tool to map Democratic and Republican climate beliefs.

This research has been covered by Scientific American and the Independent.