Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts residents agree: Global warming is here and we’re causing it.
By Kalen Pruss of CAP’s executive team.
Large majorities of Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts residents believe that global warming is real””and that humans are causing it.
So says the latest poll from Jon Krosnick, senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. Krosnick found that large majorities of Florida, Maine, and Massachusetts residents believe that:
- The Earth has been getting warming gradually over the last 100 years (81 percent, 78 percent, and 84 percent, respectively).
- This warming is mostly or partly due to human activity (72 percent, 76 percent, and 80 percent).
- The U.S. government should take action to limit the greenhouse gas emissions of businesses (74 percent, 77 percent, and 77 percent), with at least 74 percent of all such respondents agreeing that the government should move to limit emissions right away.
- A cap-and-trade permit trading system should be implemented to reduce businesses’ greenhouse gas emissions (68 percent, 72 percent, and 77 percent).
The poll also found that only around 20 percent of participants thought that limiting emissions would negatively affect the economy, and more than half would vote for a law mandating emissions cuts of 85% by 2050″”even if it cost their household $150 a year.
The results from Krosnick’s state-by-state poll mirror those of his national poll released in June, and his other polls taken earlier this year. (See Krosnick’s NYT op-ed, “The Climate Majority,” and “Large majority of Americans continue to believe global warming is real“). And they contrast sharply with recent polls, such as the Rasmussen Report numbers out last week, that deceptively find little belief that “human activity” is the cause of global warming.
That’s because Rasmussen uses a computer to make phone calls, says Krosnick, and asks vague and confusing questions that lead to less certain answers. Rasmussen asks if respondents if “planetary trends” cause global warming, for example, a phrase Krosnick attacks as meaningless. In the past, Krosnick has demonstrated that asking clearer questions better gages public concern for global warming, and that this concern has largely remained consistent over time (see “Opinion polls underestimate Americans’ concern about the environment and global warming,” and “USA Today: Some scientists misread poll data on global warming controversy“).
Krosnick’s July poll confirms this trend: belief in manmade global warming, and support for action to counter it, remains strong. Local weather patterns””unusually warm winters in Maine, or unusually cool summers in Massachusetts””appear to affect public sentiment very little. Respondents even indicated that they were very likely to vote for candidates who gave a public statement supporting action to combat climate change, and more likely to vote for a candidate who had given such a statement than one who had not.
But elected officials aren’t making very many public statements about climate change, and they’re certainly not taking action to mitigate it. If the results of Krosnick’s polls are anywhere near accurate, public sentiment is no excuse for not taking immediate action on climate.