TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Nov. 3 (UPI) -- A report from FiveThirtyEight using data from the Pew Research center found that non-white voters were more concerned than white voters with climate change as an important policy issue in this year's polls.
An average of 50 percent of non-white Democrats think climate change should be a top priority, while only 37 percent of white voters share the same view, according to FiveThirtyEight.
To appreciate the role non-white voters galvanized by this divisive issue will play in this years midterm elections, two races in particular are of interest.
In Michigan, Democrat Gary Peters and Republican Terri Lynn Land are competing for an open Senate seat, and in Florida, Republican Rick Scott and Democrat Charlie Crist are going head to head on the gubernatorial ticket. In both races, candidates' climate change policy has emerged as an important factor in courting constituents.
"Michigan is on the front lines of climate change with our Great Lakes and economic system. The Great Lakes are incredibly important for Michigan," Peters told the Washington Post, noting the economic impact climate change affecting the lakes could have on the region.
"This is something elected officials should be talking about -- we have to be concerned about it. Certainly the voters would like to know where [Land] is. It's a major issue. I think the science shows overwhelmingly that human activities have contributed a great deal towards climate change."
A spokesperson for Land replied that "she does not agree with radical liberals like Tom Steyer and Congressman Peters on the extent of the effect of human behavior on our climate."
In Florida, incumbent Scott has also continued to publicly doubt human contribution to the changing climate.
On the other hand, challenger Crist, who has done much already to show his commitment to the environment, has promised to make climate change a major focus of his administration.
"Florida is the epicenter of this debate," Crist has said, noting the low-lying state surrounded by three water on three sides, which relies heavily on tourism to sustain its economy, is especially susceptible to the environmental impacts of climate change.
Both Crist and Peters are Democrats running in swing states and will need the support of minority voters to secure their races.
"I think we're starting see more progressive and millennial groups of color target their resources and their energy towards [the climate] fight," Ifeoma Ike, co-founder Black & Brown People Vote, told Al-Jazeera.
With California billionaire Tom Steyer's organization, NextGen Climate, supporting candidates who want to take on climate change and funneling money into opposing climate deniers—NextGen purportedly targeted a million "climate voters" in Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan and New Hampshire this election cycle—climate change has shown itself to be an important issue at the ballot box in the midterms.
With minority voters so important to elections in swing states, this could perhaps be a preview of the role climate change will play for candidates courting a non-white constituency in 2016.