What Do Americans Really Think About Climate Change?
Making sense of polling data is rarely easy. Many different organizations, from survey groups to NGOs to news outlets to academic institutions conduct public opinion polls, each with their own survey samples, wording and methodology. With all of these different factors, it can be hard to ascertain out exactly what Americans think about public policy issues like climate change and global warming. Thankfully, a recent article in The Hill does exactly that: Deborah Stine, a professor of public policy at Carnegie Mellon University, compiles data from a range of polls and then provides a pithy analysis about what Americans really think about climate change and the recently unveiled EPA regulations for power plants.
The conclusions? For the most part, Americans believe climate change is happening and think we should do something about it. For the most part, Americans also support the new EPA proposed regulations, and aren’t likely to hold their vote for a candidate just because he or she supports the regulations.
Deborah D. Stine, Contributor to The Hill and Professor of Practice, Engineering and Public Policy at Carnegie Mellon University.
In all the discussion about the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) new climate change rule and power plants, there has not been much thought given to the poll numbers. Since policymakers are presumably in office to represent the public, let’s take a look at the numbers from a variety of polls and see what they say.
First, provided below is a graphic that provides a long-term perspective on climate change from a number of polls. It indicates that the majority of Americans have believed, for an extended period of time, that global warming is happening. Of course, the naysayers might well look at this data and say, that at some points in time, according to the Gallup Poll, half do not believe global warming is happening. So is the glass half-full or half-empty when it comes to public support for EPA’s proposed power plant rule?
Image credit: Kelly Klima via The Hill