Americans' concern about global warming rises, says Gallup poll
Written byJean Chemnick, E&E
A poll released today suggests Americans' concern about global warming is on the upswing.
The Gallup survey shows 58 percent of Americans worry "a great deal or a fair amount" about global warming, up from 51 percent who expressed concern about climate change two years ago.
The new survey of 1,022 adults, which was conducted March 7-10, shows public concern about climate change is in the middle of a 20-year range that has seen swings between 50 percent and 72 percent. The poll's margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.
"Americans' concerns about global warming peaked at points in the late 1980s and the late 1990s, and again between 2006 and 2008, possibly related to strong environmentalist campaigns to raise awareness of the issue at those times -- including the release of Al Gore's 'An Inconvenient Truth' in 2006," said Lydia Saad, senior editor at Gallup, in a summary of the poll.
Conversely, public belief and interest in climate change waned after 2009 as a result of public relations efforts by conservative Republicans aimed at casting doubt on scientific findings about man-made climate change, she said.
"With all of this dying down somewhat in the last few years, attitudes are returning to previous levels, putting them near the long-term averages," she said.
Fewer Americans now say that the media is hyping climate change, according to the poll, with 41 percent saying warming coverage is exaggerated, compared with 48 percent in 2010.
The majority of Americans continue to believe news on climate change either is generally correct (24 percent) or underestimates the seriousness of the issue (33 percent).
The Gallup poll follows a survey last week conducted by Yale and George Mason universities that showed that a solid majority of Republicans now support action on climate change (Greenwire, April 3).