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Yale Project on Climate Change Communication


Public opinion about global warming is an important influence on decision making about policies to reduce global warming or prepare for the impacts, but American opinions vary widely depending on where people live. So why would we rely on just one national number to understand public responses to climate change at the state and local levels?

Public opinion polling is generally done at the national level, because local level polling is very costly and time intensive. Our team of scientists, however, has developed a geographic and statistical model to downscale national public opinion results to the county, congressional district, and state levels.

We can now estimate and visualize differences in opinion across the county and a clearer picture of the diversity of Americans’ beliefs, attitudes, and support for policy comes into focus. For instance, nationally, 64% of Americans think global warming is happening. But the model shows that only 44% of people in Spencer county, Indiana agree. Meanwhile we estimate that 60% in the nearby Vanderburgh county, Indiana believe global warming is happening.

Explore the maps by clicking on your state, congressional district, or county and compare the results across questions and with other geographic areas. Beneath each map are bar charts displaying the results for every question at whichever geographic scale is currently selected. See the methods page for more information about error estimates.

This research and website are funded by the Skoll Global Threats Fund, the Energy Foundation, the 11th Hour Project, the Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment, and the V.K. Rasmussen Foundation. We are very grateful to Connie Roser-Renouf, Ed Maibach, Lisa Fernandez, Bessie Schwarz, Matthew Garrett, Geoff Feinberg, and Seth Rosenthal for their assistance with and support of the project.

For further questions about these maps or what they mean, please see our Frequently Asked Questions page.