Project Title

Comparing public opinion on climate change in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia: belief and issue salience


What the public thinks about climate change has the potential to influence climate policy. Politicians tend to pay attention to public issue opinions, especially if those issues are high salience (or ranked as important compared to other issues). Given the slow political response to climate change seen around the world, understanding public opinion on climate change is thus critical. To this end, this project investigated climate opinion in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia, two countries with similar political contexts, but important differences in climate policy and politics. Comparing these two countries allowed me shed light on the nature of the climate attitudes of the public, particularly issue salience.


I was awarded a two-year MBIE Science Whitinga Postdoctoral Fellowship to complete this work.

Methods & Data

I carried out an online survey in Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia in July 2022, asking people about their attitudes to climate change.

The resulting data file (along with survey questions) is available on OSF:

A survey experiment testing the effects of political messages on the salience of climate change was also included in the survey. The study was pre-registered before data collection began:

Finally, I completed eight online focus groups recruited from the survey participants, to understand more about people’s rankings of issues, and why many people seem to rank climate change as a low salience issue.