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Attitudes & Beliefs

April 20 2015

Global Warming CCAM March 2015

Global Warming CCAM March 2015

Today we are releasing results from our latest national survey, conducted in March 2015. Nearly two-thirds of the American public (63%) currently think global warming is happening, a percentage that has remained relatively stable over the past five years. Similarly, the percentage of the public who think that if global warming is happening, it is mostly human caused (52%) has also remained relatively unchanged.

One reason these numbers have been stable in recent years may be because most Americans are simply not hearing or talking about the issue. Our survey finds, for example, that only 40% of the American public says they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month and only 19% hear about it at least once a week. Further, only 16% say that they hear people they know talk about global warming at least once a month, with only 4% reporting they hear other people talking about it at least once a week.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Risk Perceptions Trust Values & Religion
April 06 2015

Yale Climate Opinion Maps

Yale Climate Opinion Maps

We are pleased to announce a new interactive mapping tool called “Yale Climate Opinion Maps” (YCOM) and an accompanying peer-reviewed paper in the journal Nature Climate Change. This tool allows users to visualize and explore differences in public opinion about global warming in the United States in unprecedented geographic detail.

Most of the action to reduce carbon pollution and prepare for climate change impacts is happening at the state and local levels of American society. Yet elected officials, the media, educators, and advocates currently know little about the levels of public and political will for climate action at these sub-national levels. State and local surveys are costly and time-intensive, and as a result most public opinion polling is only done at the national level. This model for the first time reveals the full geographic diversity of public opinion in the United States at these critical levels of decision making.

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Risk Perceptions
March 03 2015

Scientific Consensus on Climate Change as a Gateway Belief

We are pleased to announce a newly published article: "The Scientific Consensus on Climate Change as a Gateway Belief: Experimental Evidence" by Sander van der Linden, Anthony Leiserowitz, Geoffrey Feinberg and Edward Maibach in the journal PLoS ONE.

Our prior survey research has found that only one in ten Americans (9%) correctly understands that there is a scientific consensus about human-caused climate change – i.e., that nearly all climate scientists are convinced that human-caused climate change is happening. Our new article reports the results of an experiment that investigated how people respond when informed about the scientific consensus. 

Our results provide strong evidence for a gateway belief model. On average, being exposed to a “consensus-message” increased study participants’ perceptions of the scientific consensus by 12.8%, and up to as much as 20% in some conditions (compared to a control group). Moreover, this substantial change in the perceived level of scientific consensus caused a positive shift in participants’ belief that climate change is happening, human-caused and a worrisome threat. Changes in these beliefs, in turn, increased support for public action. Importantly, we found these effects for both Democrats and Republicans. 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Trust
January 12 2015

Not All Republicans Think Alike About Global Warming

Not All Republicans Think Alike About Global Warming

The new Republican leaders in Congress have pledged to roll back the EPA’s proposed new regulations on coal-fired power plants – a key component of President Obama’s strategy to reduce global warming.

However, Republican voters are actually split in their views about climate change. A look at public opinion among Republicans over the past few years finds a more complex – and divided – Republican electorate.

For this study, we combined the results from six of our nationally-representative surveys over the past three years, which provided enough data for an in-depth analysis of the diversity of views about global warming within the Republican party.

We find that solid majorities of self-identified moderate and liberal Republicans – who comprise 30% of the party – think global warming is happening (62% and 68% respectively). By contrast, 38% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening. At the extreme, Tea Party Republicans (17% of the party) are the most dismissive – only 29% think global warming is happening.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Politics / Elections
December 15 2014

Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming

Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming

A new report, Public Perceptions of the Health Consequences of Global Warming, analyzing results from our national survey conducted in October 2014, finds that Americans are generally unaware of the potential health consequences of global warming. When asked what global warming-related health problems, if any, Americans are experiencing, only about one in four respondents (27%) named at least one health problem known to be related to global warming.
 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Health Risk Perceptions Vulnerability & Resilience
November 18 2014

Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Americans Support CO2 Limits on Existing Coal-Fired Power Plants

Despite the debate in Congress over proposed EPA regulations, a solid majority of Americans (67%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, according to our October 2014 survey.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Policy Support Risk Perceptions
November 14 2014

Anthony Leiserowitz on the Public Perception of Climate Change at MIT Conference

YPCCC Director Anthony Leiserowitz provided a keynote address about the public's understanding of climate change at the MIT Climate CoLab conference 2014, Crowds & Climate: From Ideas to Action, held November 6-7, 2014.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs International Surveys Policy Support Risk Perceptions Six Americas
November 12 2014

Messages from the NYC People’s Climate March: an Analysis

On September 21, 2014, a team of students with the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication joined over 310,000 people in the streets of New York City for the People’s Climate March, to voice support for a safe climate. The march was an exuberant and colorful display of diverse voices united in common cause. Our students conducted 167 interviews of marchers and documented in photos and audio recordings what messages were being communicated and why. Today we're releasing their report, which presents the major themes they observed and heard from the demonstrators.

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Outreach Projects
October 30 2014

Global Warming & the Rising American Electorate

Environmental groups are spending record amounts of money on environment and energy campaign ads this season. Candidates in hotly contested races are using climate change to distinguish themselves from their opponents, even though the issue is not top-tier for voters in the midterms.

An important driver of the prominence of global warming in American politics is how the issue resonates with the so-called Rising American Electorate (RAE) – Millennials (18-to-30 year olds), Latinos, African Americans, and unmarried women, among others. According to the Census, the RAE is a rapidly growing segment within the U.S. population and as a group, the RAE comprised nearly half (48%) of the electorate in 2012 according to national exit polls.

As the RAE votes in growing numbers, they will increasingly replace more traditional types of voters, such as older white men and married women. So what does the RAE think of global warming?

In our Spring 2014 survey, we asked a representative sample of American voters how a candidate’s support or opposition to reducing global warming would influence their vote. While all registered voters appear more likely to support a pro-climate action candidate (45%) over an anti-climate action candidate (17%), the RAE is particularly likely to do so when compared to traditional voters (51% and 12%, respectively).

 

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Citizen Behavior Politics / Elections
October 27 2014

YPCCC Director featured in video on Public Perception of Climate Change

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Topics: Attitudes & Beliefs Knowledge / Climate Literacy Media
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