Washington, DC - A new Ipsos poll conducted behalf of Stanford University and Reuters explores American public opinion on the environment and global warming. A summary of key findings are listed below and the full report is available for download on the right.
Global warming has been a central focus in the recent Republican presidential primary debates. What do the American people actually think on the issue?
Our survey shows that more Americans today believe that global warming is occurring compared to just a year ago. However, at the same time, the skeptics have become more certain in their beliefs that global warming is not happening.
- The recent Reuters/Stanford/Ipsos poll finds a significant increase in the number of Americans who believe the earth has been warming (from 75% in 2010 to 83% now) in the last year. Currently, 83% of all adults say that global warming has been happening while only 15% say they believe that it has not been happening.
- While attitudes on this issue differ between Democrats and Republicans, the divide is not as great as the political debate might imply: Almost three-quarters (72%) of Republicans believe global warming has been happening, as do 92% of Democrats.
- The percentage of Americans who are certain that warming has been happening has also climbed, from 45% to 53%.
- However, those who do not believe in global warming have become more resolute in their attitude (certainty from 35% in 2010 to 53% in 2011).
- A large majority (71%) believe that if warming has been happening, it has been caused either partly (45%) or mostly (27%) by things people have been doing. 27% believe warming to be the result of natural causes.
- Here the political polarization of the issue is more apparent: 37% of Democrats believe global warming is the result primarily of human action, while only 14% of Republicans believe this. Conversely, 43% of Republicans believe global warming is the result of natural causes, up from 35% in 2010. Self-identified Tea Party members display still more certainty (49%) that global warming is caused by natural events.
- Looking forward, a large majority of Americans (72%) expect the world’s temperature to continue rising over the next 100 years if nothing is done to prevent it. Here too, Democrats are much more likely to believe in global warming’s continued impact (88%) compared to Republicans (57%) or Tea Party members (49%).
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Managing Director, Public Sector Practice
Ipsos Public Affairs
Ipsos Public Affairs
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