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Sat Nov 9, 2019, 12:07 PM

In Iowa, Bernie Sanders Seeks To Cement His Status As The Climate Candidate



The senator, long a climate champion, endorsed the Green New Deal movement early on. He hosted a televised town hall on the climate crisis in Washington, D.C., last December featuring the yet-to-be inaugurated Ocasio-Cortez, teenage activists and climate scientists. As the reality sets in that dramatic economic changes are coming ― either by a proactive, planned federal response to global heating or by cataclysmic neglect ― Sanders sees himself as the candidate best positioned to rally voters.

With polls showing Sanders drawing anywhere from 9% to 19% of Democratic voters, the campaign is vying to sway not just young voters, but Iowans who have been alarmed by events like the historic floods that devastated the state last March.

Opinion polls support the theory that leaning in to climate issues could help Sanders. In a March poll from the Des Moines Register and CNN, 91% of likely Democratic caucusgoers in Iowa said they preferred a candidate who supports a Green New Deal, a sweeping industrial plan to eliminate emissions, transition workers into new jobs and spur new markets for farmers. That same month, a Monmouth University survey pegged climate change as the No. 2 issue that likely primary voters in the state thought about after health care.

In an August survey from the Yale Program on Climate Communication, 69% of Iowa voters said they were worried about climate change, while 74% acknowledged warming was having an effect on the state’s agriculture.


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