For as much as the Democrats like to complain about the Koch brothers, most of the big time financiers of “shadowy” election groups are liberals. One of the more prominent of these financiers has been billionaire Tom Steyer, who has pumped $65 million of his personal money this cycle into campaigns opposing Republicans. Specifically, though, Steyer promised to make an issue out of “climate change” and to punish those who he perceived to be insufficiently alarmist on climate change issues.
In accordance with these stated desires, Steyer has spent $7M opposing the candidacy of [mc_name name=’Rep. Cory Gardner (R-CO)’ chamber=’house’ mcid=’G000562′ ], $4.6M against Joni Ernst, and $3.7M against Scott Brown. Unfortunately for Steyer, all three of these candidates are polling ahead of where they were expected to finish and all three stand a good chance of knocking off a Democrat seat. There is no evidence that climate change has moved the needle in this race whatsoever or in the other race (Michigan) where Steyer has dumped millions of dollars.
Steyer’s crusade faces two major problems. The first is that Americans do not care about climate change. Gallup surveys from earlier this year indicated that it was very nearly the least important issue in the minds of Americans – and that it was far, far less important than the economy, which would be directly and immediately impacted by any climate change legislation. The second is that Americans are solidly skeptical of the global warming hysteria Steyer and his ilk are peddling. A full 25% of Americans flatly disbelieve in global warming and another 36% are uncertain or have mixed feelings (as opposed to only 39% who are solid and concerned believers). These numbers far outstrip the mere 25% of people who are concerned about climate change at all.
Steyer, in other words, has spent a sizeable fortune but has failed to move the needle on the policy or on the electoral process.
I don’t personally have solid opinions one way or another on climate change. But I do share one thing in common with a pretty sizeable number of Americans – that I have heard the environmental activists cry wolf so many times that it will be difficult for me to be concerned about the existence of a real wolf until one is chewing on my leg. And if global warming doesn’t cause the wholesale destruction of the earth, this massive advertising blast by Steyer will have only contributed to make the problem exponentially worse.