Gallup Poll Shows American Concern About Climate Change Is Rising
Brett Smith for redOrbit.com — Your Universe Online
Much like one theory surrounding the changing global temperatures — Americans´ concern over climate change has gone in cycles — rising for several years and falling for a few years.
According to a new Gallup poll, Americans concerns on climate change are on the rise, with 58 percent of respondents saying they worry “a great deal” or a “fair amount” about global warming.
“U.S. worry about global warming is heading back up after several years of expanded public skepticism,” a Gallup statement noted, “(Concern is) up from 51 percent in 2011 but still below the 62 percent to 72 percent levels seen in earlier years.”
The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted during the second week of March, with a random sample of over 1,000 adults living in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.
The poll showed that 33 percent of Americans worry “a great deal” about global warming, 25 percent worry “a fair amount,” 20 percent worry “only a little,” and 23 percent say they do not worry at all.
Gallup statistics show that the US public´s concern on the issue has risen and fallen between 50 and 72 percent over the past two decades.
The new poll also showed that 54 percent of Americans said they believe the effects of global warming are already being felt, and 27 percent said the effects would be felt “at a future date.” These two results were consistent with previous Gallup polls that also show waxing and waning opinions.
Despite their concerns over rising temperatures and the threat they pose, Americans are consistently skeptical of media reports on climate change. Forty-one percent said they believe the media exaggerates in reporting on global warming, down from 48 percent in 2010.
Another interesting result of the latest Gallup poll was Americans´ opinions on the causes of global warming. The poll showed an increasing number of Americans, 57 percent, say that they believe human activity is responsible for the rising average temperatures over the last century. The poll result is the third consecutive year that number has risen, up from 50 percent in 2010.
An overwhelming majority of those polled, 64 percent, said they do not believe climate change will directly affect them in their lifetime.
“Gallup trends throughout the past decade — and some stretching back to 1989 — have shown generally consistent majority support for the idea that global warming is real, that human activities cause it, and that news reports on it are correct, if not underestimated. However, those views have shown significant variability,” a Gallup statement on the poll said.
In their statement, the research company theorized that public campaigns, like the one surrounding Al Gore´s documentary “An Inconvenient Truth,” influence the cyclical poll results, with concerns rising during the campaign and receding as the campaign experiences a backlash and a drop-off in coverage.
The company said a future study will examine public opinion on global warming within the context of party affiliation.