As Biden, Trump Clash Over Wildfires, Climate Change Is Low Priority for Many Voters

With President Donald Trump again dismissing climate change science as fires rage across the West Coast, polling shows the issue is a low priority for many voters.

The president suggested at a briefing in Sacramento that it will "start getting cooler," while questioning the science of climate change having contributed to the wildfires.

Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden branded the president a "climate arsonist" and a "climate denier" in a speech in Delaware.

During this, he said: "If you give a climate arsonist four more years in the White House, why would anyone be surprised if we have more of America ablaze?"

Trump has labeled climate change a hoax in the past and said he does not believe in it. However, he has also labeled himself a "great environmentalist" and said he knows "more about the environment than most people."

In regards to the wildfires, he has said he feels it is likely a forest management issue.

While Biden and Trump spar on the issue, for voters climate change is low in the list of key topics they are focused on ahead of the election.

A The Economist/YouGov poll conducted among 1,500 adults from September 6 to 8 found 42 percent of those asked said the issue was very important to them, while 29 percent said somewhat important.

In terms of being very important, this lagged behind the economy, with 67 percent, health care, 66 percent, and education, 59 percent.

It was also behind civil rights, crime, national security, taxes and gun control.

However it was above immigration, which was at 37 percent.

Putting those who found climate change somewhat important and very important together made for 71 percent of respondents. This was behind all the other issues mentioned when these two responses were grouped.

When asked which of the issues was most important to them, climate change came out fourth, with 11 percent responding as such.

It was placed behind healthcare, jobs and the economy, and civil rights.

Pew Research polling from July 27 to August 2, in which 9,114 registered voters were asked, found 42 percent of those asked said climate change was very important to them. This lagged behind 79 percent who said the economy, the top issue. It was also behind points such as health care, supreme court appointments, the coronavirus outbreak and violent crime.

Newsweek has contacted the Trump and Biden campaigns and the White House for comment.

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U.S. President Donald Trump speaks during a briefing on wildfires with local and federal fire and emergency officials at Sacramento McClellan Airport in McClellan Park, California on September 14, 2020. He questioned the science on climate change while discussing the fires. Brendan Smialowski/AFP via Getty Images