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Black voters’ climate concern is high in most of Mountain West

This is a wide-angle image of a desert landscape in New Mexico. Wildfire smoke is billowing from a mountainside in the center of the image. The sky is blue.
Courtesy Of InciWeb
Fire activity as seen from along the southeast edge of the Hermits Peak/Calf Canyon Fire, the largest and most destructive in New Mexico’s history, on May 7, 2022.

A new report shows Black voters nationwide are very concerned about climate change and more likely to take political action on the issue.

Nationwide, nearly 90% of Black voters are concerned about climate change to some degree. That’s about 10% higher than the national average, according to a report by Brookings, a nonprofit think tank.

And Black voters are more concerned about climate change than the state average in many areas of the U.S. – including parts of the Mountain West.

In our region, Black voters’ climate concern is slightly higher than the state average in Utah (+4.3%), New Mexico (+3%), Wyoming (+0.6%) and Idaho (+0.3%). Meanwhile, Black voters’ concern is slightly lower in Nevada (-1%) and Colorado (-0.07%).

Several factors are likely driving the broad trend of climate concern among Black voters, said Manann Donoghoe, senior research associate at Brookings.

“Climate change is just a less polarizing issue for black voters,” Donoghoe said. “And one hypothesis to that may be that black voters, as a group, tend to be more exposed to the impacts of climate change.”

He added that Black voters are also more likely to take climate-related political action, such as signing a petition, attending a rally, or voting for a candidate because of their climate policies. In 2023, about 56% of Black voters took at least one action, according to Brookings. The national average was 43%.

This story was produced by the Mountain West News Bureau, a collaboration between Wyoming Public Media, Nevada Public Radio, Boise State Public Radio in Idaho, KUNR in Nevada, KUNC in Colorado and KANW in New Mexico, with support from affiliate stations across the region. Funding for the Mountain West News Bureau is provided in part by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

Kaleb is an award-winning journalist and KUNR’s Mountain West News Bureau reporter. His reporting covers issues related to the environment, wildlife and water in Nevada and the region.
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