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      Climate Change Beliefs Count: Relationships With Voting Outcomes at the 2010 Australian Federal Election

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          Abstract

          Climate change is a political as well as an environmental issue. Climate change beliefs are commonly associated with voting behaviour, but are they associated with swings in voting behaviour? The latter are arguably more important for election outcomes. This paper investigates the predictive power of these beliefs on voting swings at the 2010 Australian federal election after controlling for a range of other related factors (demographic characteristics of voters, different worldviews about nature and the role of government, and the perceived opportunity cost of addressing climate change). Drawing on data from two nationally representative surveys of voters and data from the Australian Electoral Commission, this paper investigates relationships between climate change beliefs and voting swings at both the individual and electorate levels. At an individual level, a hypothetical 10% change in climate change beliefs was associated with a 2.6% swing from a conservative Coalition and a 2.0% swing toward Labor and 1.7% toward the Greens party, both left on the political spectrum. At the electorate level, this equates to a shift of 21 seats between the two main political parties (the Coalition and Labor) in Australia’s 150 seat parliament, after allocating Green preferences. Given many seats are marginal, even modest shifts in climate change beliefs can be associated with changes in electoral outcomes. Thus, climate change is expected to remain a politically contested issue in countries like Australia where political parties seek to distinguish themselves, in part, by their responses to climate change.

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          Most cited references43

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          A Protection Motivation Theory of Fear Appeals and Attitude Change1

          A protection motivation theory is proposed that postulates the three crucial components of a fear appeal to be (a) the magnitude of noxiousness of a depicted event; (b) the probability of that event's occurrence; and (c) the efficacy of a protective response. Each of these communication variables initiates corresponding cognitive appraisal processes that mediate attitude change. The proposed conceptualization is a special case of a more comprehensive theoretical schema: expectancy-value theories. Several suggestions are offered for reinterpreting existing data, designing new types of empirical research, and making future studies more comparable. Finally, the principal advantages of protection motivation theory over the rival formulations of Janis and Leventhal are discussed.
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            A Meta-Analysis of Research on Protection Motivation Theory

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              Adaptive capacity and human cognition: The process of individual adaptation to climate change

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                JSPP
                J Soc Polit Psych
                Journal of Social and Political Psychology
                J. Soc. Polit. Psych.
                PsychOpen
                2195-3325
                05 May 2015
                : 3
                : 1
                : 124-141
                Affiliations
                [a ]Land & Water Flagship, CSIRO, Brisbane, Australia
                [b ]Land & Water Flagship, CSIRO, Perth, Australia
                [c ]School of Psychology, University of Western Australia, Perth, Australia
                [d ]School of Information Technology and Electrical Engineering, The University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
                [5]Jacobs University Bremen, Bremen, Germany
                Author notes
                [* ]Land & Water Flagship, CSIRO, PO BOX 2583, Brisbane, Queensland, 4001, Australia. rod.mccrea@ 123456csiro.au
                Article
                jspp.v3i1.376
                10.5964/jspp.v3i1.376
                e54f1ef6-cdcf-4185-8d29-0f09424c7210
                Copyright @

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

                History
                : 06 May 2014
                : 20 February 2015
                Categories
                Original Research Reports

                Psychology
                elections,scepticism,politics,voting behaviour,denial,climate change
                Psychology
                elections, scepticism, politics, voting behaviour, denial, climate change

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