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Gallup Poll: Public Understanding And Concern About Global Warming Keeps Rising

Gallup latest polling confirms that the public’s understanding and concern about global warming is on the rise. This matches the findings of other pollsters — see Yale Poll (10/12): “Large And Growing Majority Of Americans” Say “Global Warming Is Affecting Weather In The United States.”

The public’s awareness that humans are the primary cause of global warming has returned to pre-2010 levels (see chart above). This awareness matches our ever-strengthening scientific understanding — see It’s “Extremely Likely That at Least 74% of Observed Warming Since 1950″ Was Manmade; It’s Highly Likely All of It Was.”

The public’s (accurate) understanding of the scientific consensus on global warming is “back above 60%”:

Gallup explains what’s probably going on:

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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. Conversely, concerns receded in 2009 and 2010, particularly among Republicans and conservatives, corresponding with a flurry of publicity about scientists who doubt global warming is caused by human activities, as well as some controversy about global warming research. 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.

Gallup’s conclusion about the role of Gore’s movie matches that of academic research. As Dr. Robert J. Brulle of Drexel University described to me his 2012 study that examined the results of 6 different polling organizations over the years, “I think this should close down forever the idea that Al Gore caused the partisan polarization over climate change.”

Here is Gallup’s quarter-century polling on public concern about global warming:

Again, this matches the findings of other pollsters — see Rasmussen Poll (11/12): 68 Percent Of American Voters See Global Warming As A “Serious Problem” (up from 46% in 2009).