Survey Question Wording

Model estimates in the maps were derived from public responses to the following survey questions. The response categories for many questions were collapsed into a single variable for mapping. For example, for the question measuring how much respondents support a carbon tax, “strongly support” and “somewhat support” were combined into a single measure of “Support.” Likewise “Somewhat oppose” and “Strongly oppose” were combined into a single measure of “Oppose.”

Individuals who responded “Don’t know” or who did not answer the question were not modeled separately and appear as gray segments within the bar charts.

Earth is getting warmer
“From what you’ve read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer over the past four decades?”

  • Yes
  • No
  • Don’t Know [volunteered]

Earth is getting warmer partly or mostly because of human activity 
[If yes, solid evidence] “Is the earth getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels or mostly because of natural patterns in the earth’s environment?”

  • Human activity
  • A Combination [volunteered]
  • Natural patterns
  • Not sure [volunteered]
  • [Answered No to “Earth getting warmer?” question]

Climate change will harm you personally
“How much do you think climate change will harm you personally”?

  • A great deal
  • A moderate amount
  • Only a little
  • Not at all
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

When do you think climate change will start to harm people living in Canada
“When do you think climate change will start to harm people living in Canada”?

  • Climate change is already harming people in Canada
  • In 10 years
  • 25 years
  • 50 years
  • 100 years
  • Never
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

My province has already felt negative effects from climate change
“Now, for each item I read, please indicate if you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree, or strongly disagree.”
“My province has already felt negative effects from climate change.”

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

Instead of trying to stop climate change we should focus on adapting
“Instead of trying to stop climate change from happening we should focus on adapting to a warmer climate”

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

Support cap and trade system
“There is a proposed system called cap and trade where the government issues permits limiting the amount of greenhouse gases companies can put out. If a company exceeds their limit, they will have to buy more permits. If they don’t use all of their permits, they will be able to sell or trade them to others who exceed their cap. The idea is that companies will find ways to put out less greenhouse gases because that would be cheaper than buying permits.
“Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose this type of system for your province?”

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

Support increasing taxes on carbon based fuels
“Another way to lower greenhouse gas emissions is to increase taxes on carbon based fuels such as coal, oil, gasoline and natural gas. Do you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose or strongly oppose this type of system?”

  • Strongly support
  • Somewhat support
  • Somewhat oppose
  • Strongly oppose
  • Not sure / Refused [volunteered]

Methods

This site provides estimates of the Canadian adult population’s climate change beliefs and policy preferences at provincial and electoral district levels - a new source of high-resolution data on public opinion that can inform Canadian decision-making, policy, and education initiatives.
The estimates are derived from a statistical model using multilevel regression with post-stratification (MRP) on a large national survey dataset (n>9,000), along with demographic and geographic population characteristics.

The estimates use the same validated technique deployed by Howe et al. (2015) to estimate local-scale US public opinion. More information can be found here:

Howe, P., Mildenberger, M., Marlon, J.R., and Leiserowitz, A., (2015) “Geographic variation in opinions on climate change at state and local scales in the USA,” Nature Climate Change. DOI: 10.1038/nclimate2583.

These US estimates were validated using three different methods. First, cross-validation analyses were conducted within the dataset. The dataset was divided into two sets of respondents, with one part used to run the model and the other kept aside for validation. The model estimates were then compared to the results of the set aside respondents to directly quantify the percentage of correct answers the model predicted. These cross-validation tests were repeated multiple times using different sample sizes and dividing the data in different ways. Second, the model estimates derived from the full dataset were compared to the results of independent, representative state- and city-level surveys. Third, some model estimates were compared with third-party survey data collected by other researchers in previous years.

We undertake Canada-specific validation using the cross-validation technique deployed in the US case. For more details, please see:

Mildenberger, M., Howe, P.D., Lachapelle, E., Stokes, L.C., Marlon, J., and Gravelle, T. “The distribution of climate change public opinion in Canada.” PLoS ONE 11(8) eo159774. Available here.