With just one day until the midterms, climate groups are in crunch mode as they seek to bring more voters to the polls for the sake of the environment. Organizations like the Environmental Voter Project have already seen great success in their efforts, getting nearly half a million voters to cast their ballots across the country. In an interview with NBC’s LX News, Environmental Voter Project Founder and Executive Director Nathaniel Stinnett revealed that already, 407,000 new voters made their voices heard thanks to the nonprofit’s efforts.
Many of those votes were cast in swing states or states with contentious races. LX News reports that the Environmental Voter Project saw 32,000 new voters in Florida, 72,000 new voters in Pennsylvania, and 113,000 new voters in Texas. State-specific groups like Conservation Voters of Pennsylvania have seen similar success and even ramped up their tactics, running digital ads for the first time in what many activists see as a midterm outcome that could pose an existential threat to constituents. Climate clearly brings people to the polls, but how much of that transfers in turn to electing candidates who also lead with climate concerns?
In that regard, there’s definitely still more work to be done. “The simple truth is the climate movement needs more political power, period,” Stinnett told LX News. “But if we get it—and all of our research at the Environmental Voter Project shows that the numbers are there for us to get it if we just start showing up and voting in all these elections—well then, yeah, we will be an unstoppable political force.”
The New Republic digs into the polling numbers behind public sentiment on climate change and whether that truly is a widespread driver for voting. As polling has shown and the Environmental Voter Project has proven, it certainly can be. But in terms of messaging, climate stays sidelined by economic concerns among many other issues. The New Republic suggests groups make more concerted efforts on state- and region-specific elections, framing climate concerns as something just as immediate as inflation—because it absolutely is.
Oregon congressional hopeful Jamie McLeoud-Skinner offers a perfect example of what that looks like in the state she’s vying to represent. “Wildfire does not check party affiliation when it’s burning down homes. So this is an issue everyone’s concerned about,” McLeod-Skinner told the New Republic. “I’ve met folks who hate Obamacare but love the ACA. And it’s that same thing with climate. There are people who don’t really talk about it as climate change—they see that as a buzzword... But if you talk about wildfire, and flooding, and drought, that has impacted our families across Oregon.”
These are lessons that, regardless of the midterms’ outcome, can continue to resonate in elections to come.
At long last, the 2022 midterms are almost here! With the battle for the House front and center, we give you a window into the key races on a final pre-election episode of The Downballot. We discuss a wide range of contests that will offer insight into how the night is going, including top GOP pickup opportunities, second-tier Republican targets, and the seats where Democrats are on offense. And with many vote tallies likely to stretch on for some time, we also identify several bellwether races in states that count quickly.