Thursday, July 14, 2016

Climate Change Rises in Latest Poll

A new analysis of voter preferences shows more Americans are passionate or "alarmed," about climate change, with the percentage of poll respondents in this category rising sharply to 17 percent compared to 12 percent last year.

Researchers polled 1,204 eligible American voters four months ago and used their responses to classify what they call "Six Americas"—six categories of people based on their opinion on climate change. These categories ranged from "alarmed" to "dismissive." About 10 percent of the respondents were classified as dismissive, which was not a statistically significant drop from 11 percent in 2015.

Researchers say there hasn't been such a wide gap between the extreme pro-climate supporters and climate change deniers since 2008, right after Barack Obama was first elected president. That was also the year they started this analysis.

"It's really important to recognize there is a lot of wiggle," said Edward Maibach, director of George Mason University's Center for Climate Change Communication. But Maibach said he thinks—while conceding the data doesn't prove it yet—that "the dismissive are on the decline and will remain on the decline" and "the size of the alarmed are on the rise and will remain on the rise."

Maibach was one of the four researchers at George Mason and Yale University who conducted the analysis published online Tuesday. The researchers plan to conduct a similar poll in November after the election.

This study comes the same week Democrats and Republicans updated their 2016 party platforms. Democrats strengthened their position on climate change, including support for a carbon pricing scheme. Meanwhile, Republicans moved in the opposite direction, describing coal, a large source of greenhouse gas emissions, as a "clean" energy source.

The other categories of poll responders, listed by decreasing level of climate anxiety and awareness, include: "concerned" at 28 percent, "cautious" at 27 percent, "disengaged" at 7 percent and "doubtful" at 11 percent.

Read more at Climate Change Rises in Latest Poll

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