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Poll: 70% of New Jerseyans back climate change curriculumn

Fairleigh Dickinson University’s Dan Cassino: ‘This might be one of the Murphy administration’s most popular measures’

By David Wildstein, May 15 2023 11:21 am

By a substantial 70%-23% margin, New Jerseyans support teaching climate change in New Jersey public schools, according to a Fairleigh Dickinson University poll released today.

New Jersey became the first state to mandate a climate change curriculum as early as kindergarten in 2021.

The move was controversial two years ago, but now even Republicans are split (45%-45%); 96% of Democrats back the climate change curriculum, and independents support it by an almost 2-1 margin, 65%-34%.

“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 poll director. “But two years later, this might be one of the Murphy administration’s most popular measures.”

Cassino pointed to climate change curriculum as an area where Democrats and Republicans seem to be in agreement.

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

Teaching climate change is the most popular among New Jerseyans under age 30 (74%) and those over age 65 (72%), but registers nearly as well among those between the ages of 31 to 44 (70%) and 45 to 64 (67%).

Two years ago, there was concern about the impact of climate anxiety or eco-anxiety among young people, but the poll embedded a question about this and found little evidence of it.

“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.”

The poll was conducted between April 28 and May 6 with a sample size of 716 adult New Jersey residents and had a sample size of +/- 3.5%; some design effects of the FDU poll changed the margin of error to +/- 4.7%.

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