Global Warming What People Think

Although some scientists as well as political figures often debate the relation between global warming and severe climatic events like droughts and hurricanes, most American voters have already arrived at a decisive conclusion. This growing trend is likely to promote public policy change and may very well affect the results of future elections.

In a recent telephone poll conducted in August 2006 by Zogby International, just prior to Hurricane Katrina’s one-year anniversary, 1,018 potential voters were surveyed concerning their opinions of global warming, specifically whether or not they believed it was occurring. The conclusion was that 74% of American voters are more inclined to believe that global warming is occurring than they were just two years ago. Only about one in five reported that they are less convinced that global warming is an approaching reality.

The common belief that global warming is now happening is not restricted to any particular demographic. Virtually every American demographic segment is comprised of a majority of individuals who believe that global warming is in fact occurring, regardless of geographic region, age, race, gender, religion, or income bracket.

This trend of change in thinking is also spreading into politics. 87% of Democrats, 56% of Republicans, and 82% percent of Independents are more in agreement today that global warming is occurring than they were two years ago.

The survey was commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation (NWF). The president of the NWF, Larry Schweiger, was quoted saying “Global warming isn’t about right or left, it’s about right or wrong.” He went on to say “American’s believe we have a moral responsibility to confront global warming to protect our children’s future”.

Although the survey’s results represent the opinion of the American majority, they do not constitute actual scientific evidence that directly links severe weather events like hurricanes to global warming. However, they do demonstrate that the citizens of the United States are more concerned than ever about the potential devastating effects of global warming, and that the people are making a specific connection between global warming and the extreme climatic events that they hear about or witness. Some other results of the poll include:
• Nearly 70% of those surveyed reported that they believe global warming has had a significant influence or at least some influence on severe weather events such as hurricanes like Katrina, a decrease in snowfall, more frequent droughts, the 2006 summer heat wave, and more naturally occurring wildfires.
• 72% of the individuals polled stated that requiring industries to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions could effectively improve the environment without damaging the economy. This represents a 5% increase of similar responses received to this question three years ago.
• The majority of respondents spanning a wide range of ages agreed that industries should be forced to decrease their greenhouse gas emissions to help fight global warming. However, there was less unison across political party lines. While 81% of Democrats agreed that big industries should be required to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, only 61% of Republicans agreed. Independents were in between the two at 73%.