Rasmussen Poll: 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem’

Polls have consistently shown that Americans’ understanding of global warming grows with an increase in extreme weather events. In the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy, that number continues to grow.

According to a new Rasmussen poll conducted a day before the election and released this morning, 68 percent of American voters said that global warming is either a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. This represents a major increase over the last few years. In 2009, Rasmussen reported that only 46 percent of Americans believed that global warming is a problem. (Interestingly, while more people say they are concerned about the problem, there was a drop in the number of people who say it’s human caused).

The Rasmussen poll backs up others showing an increase in concern for global warming. An October poll from George Mason University and the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication showed that 74 percent of Americans understand that “global warming is affecting weather in the United States” — an increase of 5 points from a March 2012 survey. The Yale/George Mason poll also found that a majority of respondents said global warming made the summer heat wave and Midwest drought worse.

In February, a poll released by the Brookings Institute showed a 7 percent increase in the number of Americans who say that the planet is warming — with that increase influenced by extreme weather events.

The last two years have brought a stunning series of extreme weather events: two record heat waves, an historic drought, above-average destructive wildfires, and two powerful hurricanes that slammed into the East Coast. From January through August of 2012, the U.S. experienced the most extreme period for weather ever recorded, according to data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The world’s largest reinsurance firm, Munich Re, released a report last month concluding that the growing number of weather extremes are a “strong indication of climate change.”

Climate­-driven changes are already evident over the last few decades for severe thunderstorms, for heavy precipitation and flash flood­ing, for hurricane activity, and for heatwave, drought and wild­-fire dynamics in parts of North America.”

“In all likelihood, we have to regard this finding as an initial climate-change footprint in our US loss data from the last four decades. Previously, there had not been such a strong chain of evidence. If the first effects of climate change are already perceptible, all alerts and measures against it have become even more pressing,” said Peter Höppe, the head of Munich Re’s Geo Risks Research unit.

The increase in violent weather is also having a political impact. Although the presidential candidates did not discuss climate change in the final weeks of the debate, the destruction from Superstorm Sandy was the main reason why New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg endorsed President Obama:

Our climate is changing. And while the increase in extreme weather we have experienced in New York City and around the world may or may not be the result of it, the risk that it might be – given this week’s devastation – should compel all elected leaders to take immediate action.

When I step into the voting booth, I think about the world I want to leave my two daughters, and the values that are required to guide us there. The two parties’ nominees for president offer different visions of where they want to lead America….

One sees climate change as an urgent problem that threatens our planet; one does not. I want our president to place scientific evidence and risk management above electoral politics.

After the election, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid has indicated that he will try to make climate a bigger issue during Obama’s second term.

Yesterday, New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg backed Reid’s comments up: “We will keep fighting for real climate change solutions, such as investments in clean energy, public transportation, and resilient infrastructure that protects communities from extreme weather.”

In his election night speech, President Obama also indicated that he might make climate change a bigger priority.

“We want our children to live in an America that isn’t burdened by debt, that isn’t weakened by inequality, that isn’t threatened by the destructive power of a warming planet,” said Obama to his supporters during a victory speech.

14 Responses to Rasmussen Poll: 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A ‘Serious Problem’

  1. Steve Lounsbury says:

    And 32% bought into one more fundamentalist delusion … not to mention just plain old fashion false narratives by Big Energy.

  2. BillD says:

    An encouraging survey result. Not too long ago, many people thought that global warming meant less heating in winter and turning up the air conditioner a notch in the summer. The risks of extreme weather and sea level rise are now better apreciated.

  3. Mike Roddy says:

    This Sandy bump might recede, just as the Katrina one did. In the meantime, the oil companies will continue to obstruct action, via corrupt members of Congress.

    Political action is stalled. Public awareness must increase well beyond 68%, since even after Sandy we have a majority denier House of Representatives. It’s critical that more serious measures are taken to awaken the people.

  4. Paul Magnus says:

    Climate Chaos shared a link.


    Climate Refugees in America « EcoWatch: Uniting the Voice of the Grassroots Environmental Movement

    This is a chilling video of a voicemail from aHurricane Sandyvictim in the Long Island neighborhood ofRockaway Peninsula.With scientists telling us thatclimate changeis raising sea levels—storm surges and theintensity of hurricanes—there is only one way to describe these folks: they are among the fi…

  5. John McCormick says:

    Mike, we can assume all those 68% are of voting age.

    The League of Conservation voters led a fundraising effort and campaign to unseat the Congressional Flat-earth Five. Four including Dan Lungren (R-CA) were defeated.

    The collective wealth of the “big green” and wealthy believers should influence the Democratic National Committee to work together NOW to identify other target ‘flat earthers’ and particularly tea bagger representatives and find Democratic challengers who pledge to vote for climate change mitigation legislation, treaties or whatever relates to saving our civilization.

    Mirror image of the kroch brothers plan to take over Congress.

  6. Mike Roddy says:

    I’m with you on that, John. I’ve always wondered why LCV has had to do it, and DNC treats climate as just one more issue on a checklist. If the Democratic Party gets serious about targeting climate trolls, we have a chance, but the evidence is not in yet that they will do so. Maybe you can prod them here.

  7. John McCormick says:

    Mike read this Politico article on how Repug Pete Sessions, Chair of the rethug campaign committee had a winning plan to retain hold on the House.

    Its all about winning back the House before 2 degrees C kills our future.

    Time for some new faces calling the shots.

  8. Ken Barrows says:

    Great, 68%. What are you prepared to do about it?

  9. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Don’t forget the distribution of intelligence, of curiosity, of credulousness and of sheer pig-headedness. How do you think that the Right gets so many working people to vote for parties dedicated to destroying their life prospects?

  10. PeterM says:

    The American public despite ‘Sandy’ remains remarkably uniformed about climate change. That they understand the urgency of the problem is something else. They DO NOT.

  11. rjs says:

    only 41% said it was caused by humans…kinda takes the wind out of the windmill, dont it?

  12. David Goldstein says:

    Attended the ‘Do the Math’ tour last night in Portland. These guys have honed their approach- from what I can see they are the most effective group out there- putting bodies in place and enacting actual on the ground strategies to disrupt the financial ‘food chain’ of the fossil fuel companies. They are spearheading a divestment movement (2 days ago a college in Maine officially forsook all investments in fossil fuel corps), marching on Washington on November 18th to hold Obama’s feet to the fire regarding Keystone (last year 1200 were arrested) and putting out the call for protests/civil disobience at the next annual meetings of Chevron, Exxon and Shell. In the NOrthwest they are coordinating with local groups to disallow coal trains to pass through on the way to ports for export to Asia (In BC they have successfully defeated coal trains) I admire Bill Mckibben very much; He has a ‘Yankee’ (Vermont), soft-spoken, unassuming air. And he means business.

  13. Paul Magnus says:

    Theres systemic and theres context…. in the context of what is happening and what we know… probabilities on Sandy indicate GW warming is the culprit.

    We certainly should not be saying the GW did not cause Sandy, because…. we dont know. Many scientist are saying that GW did not cause Sandy.

    The reality is they dont even have a ballpark indictor on whether thats so or not. So they should not be saying that.

    What the should be saying and focusing on is what they know GW contributed to for the storm and the outcome.

  14. Paul Magnus says:

    not many do… even around these blogs…