Few Americans Support Donald Trump's Decision To Leave The Paris Agreement

Views on the subject are increasingly polarized.

Less than a third of the public supports President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the Paris Agreement on climate change, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll.

Just 28 percent of Americans approve of the decision to leave the agreement, while 47 percent disapprove. About a quarter aren’t sure.

Intense opposition outweighs intense support ― 39 percent of the public strongly disapproves of Trump’s decision, with just 19 percent strongly in favor.

President Donald Trump departs the White House Rose Garden on June 1 after announcing his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.
President Donald Trump departs the White House Rose Garden on June 1 after announcing his decision that the United States will withdraw from the landmark Paris Agreement on climate change.
Kevin Lamarque/Reuters

Support for withdrawal from the accord has increased modestly since a May survey taken before the announcement, when just 17 percent of Americans favored leaving and 61 percent were opposed.

While some of that change may be due to the variation in wording between the questions, it also demonstrates the power of polarization. Before the White House had taken an official stance on the issue, 31 percent of Trump voters favored staying in the agreement. Now, with polling on the agreement also partially a referendum on the president’s performance, views are more strongly split along political lines. Just 11 percent of Trump voters ― in contrast with 88 percent of voters who backed Hillary Clinton ― now say they disapprove of the decision to withdraw.


The U.S. is due to exit the Paris Agreement on Nov. 4, 2020, one day after the next presidential election. Environmental groups are hoping that Trump’s decision to remove the U.S. from the pact will elevate the importance of environmental issues in the upcoming 2018 and 2020 campaigns.

If the issue does rise in prominence, it could work against the GOP. Forty perent of Americans say they trust the Democratic Party more than the GOP to handle climate issues versus 26 percent who trust the Republican Party more, with another third unsure. Six in 10 Americans say they’re at least somewhat concerned about climate change, though just a third are very concerned.

But environmental issues have rarely been deciding factors at the ballot box ― and, as Trump voters’ shift in opinion demonstrates, partisanship may be more likely to drive Americans’ views about environmental issues than the other way around.

The people most likely to care deeply are also unlikely to be swing voters. Rather, the highest levels of concern are largely on the left. Seventy percent of Clinton voters say they’re very concerned about climate change, a view shared by only 8 percent of Trump voters and barely over a quarter of those who didn’t vote or supported a third party.


Asked to pick their top two issues from a list, just 16 percent of the public overall chose the environment, ranking it behind immigration (20 percent), the economy (37 percent) and their top concern, health care (43 percent).

Young Americans, however, are more likely to place a priority on environmental issues. Among adults under age 30, the environment is viewed as the second most important issue, behind only health care. Nearly half of young Americans who lean toward or support the Democratic Party call the environment a top issue.

Use the widget below to further explore the results of the HuffPost/YouGov survey, using the menu at the top to select survey questions and the buttons at the bottom to filter the data by subgroups:

The HuffPost/YouGov poll consisted of 1,000 completed interviews conducted June 1-2 among U.S. adults, using a sample selected from YouGov’s opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population.

HuffPost has teamed up with YouGov to conduct daily opinion polls. You can learn more about this project and take part in YouGov’s nationally representative opinion polling. Data from all HuffPost/YouGov polls can be found here. More details on the polls’ methodology are available here.

Most surveys report a margin of error that represents some, but not all, potential survey errors. YouGov’s reports include a model-based margin of error, which rests on a specific set of statistical assumptions about the selected sample, rather than the standard methodology for random probability sampling. If these assumptions are wrong, the model-based margin of error may also be inaccurate. Click here for a more detailed explanation of the model-based margin of error.

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