Most Americans believe climate change played a role in Texas winter storm

Jamie BallardData Journalist
February 22, 2021, 3:30 PM UTC

The state of Texas experienced unprecedented freezing temperatures last week. As a result, many are without electricity, as power generators and natural gas pipelines have frozen. The Electric Reliability Council of Texas, which manages the state’s power grid, has been administering rolling blackouts to avoid a complete grid failure. 

The weather conditions have reportedly already caused several deaths in Texas. Although power has now been restored to many areas, Texas governor Greg Abbott has said that residents are “not out of the woods” as temperatures remain extremely low.  

Some have pointed to climate change as a significant factor in this unusual weather event. Do Americans agree?  

In a YouGov poll, 31% of Americans believe climate change is “fully responsible” for the winter storms in Texas. Slightly more (37%) say that climate change is “partially responsible.” 

Democrats (46%) are about four times as likely as Republicans (11%) to say that climate change is entirely to blame for this catastrophic event. More than one-third (36%) of Republicans say that climate change is not at all responsible for the unusually freezing weather in Texas.  

Among residents of the Southern US, 34% say climate change is fully to blame, while 29% say it is partially responsible for the winter storm.  

As the winter storm wreaked havoc on Texas, Rep. Ted Cruz was seen on Wednesday boarding a flight to Cancun, Mexico. He returned to Texas on Thursday and released a statement saying he had booked the vacation for his daughters who “asked to take a trip with friends.”  

He later said to reporters, “I started having second thoughts almost the moment I sat down on the plane, because on the one hand, all of us who are parents have a responsibility to take care of our kids, take care of our family. That's something Texans have been doing across the state. But I also have a responsibility that I take very seriously for the state of Texas and frankly, leaving when so many Texans were hurting didn't feel right and so I changed my return flight and flew back on the first available flight I could take.”  

YouGov poll finds that 55% of Americans think it’s important for political representatives to be in their home state during an emergency. Another 26% believe it is somewhat important.  

Democrats (66%) are more likely than Independents (53%) or Republicans (37%) to say it’s very important for representatives to be in their state during a crisis.  

Related: One in 10 Americans say climate change is the most important issue in America right now 

Methodology: 1,697 US adults were surveyed between February 18 – 19, 2021. The responding sample is weighted to be representative of the US population.  

Image: Getty