Encouraging news from a new Saint Leo poll

A new pair of polls (PDF) from the Saint Leo University Polling Institute shows increased acceptance of anthropogenic climate change and increased support for teaching climate change in the public schools, both nationally and in Florida.

Respondents were presented with the prompt "Some people believe global climate change is currently occurring due to human activities, while others believe global climate change is part of a natural cycle," and asked, "Which of the following best reflects what you believe?" "Global climate change is caused entirely by human activity" was preferred by 25.2% of respondents nationally and by 26.9% of Florida residents, while "global climate change is caused by a combination of human activity and nature" was preferred by 52.4% of respondents nationally and by 51.8% of Florida residents, "global climate change is caused entirely by nature" was preferred by 11.3% of respondents nationally and 12.9% of Florida residents, and "I don't believe global climate change is occurring" was preferred by 5.9% of respondents nationally and 3.2% of Florida residents.

Respondents were also asked whether they strongly agreed, somewhat agreed, somewhat disagreed, or strongly disagreed with "Climate change should be taught as accepted theory in public primary and secondary schools." According to a press release, "In the most recent poll, 67.6 percent nationally agreed with strongly (39.2 percent) or somewhat (28.4 percent) with that premise. In Florida, a combined 70.4 percent agreed, with 40.6 percent of responses in strong agreement. In both cases, the totals are a couple of points higher than in 2019," when 64.4% of respondents nationally and 65.2% of Florida residents strongly or somewhat agreed with the prompt. Data from the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication shows public support for climate change education as about 10 percentage points higher (77% nationally and in Florida), perhaps owing to differences in the wording of the prompt.

The national and Florida polls were conducted on-line from February 17 through February 22, 2020, among 1000 and 900 respondents respectively; the margins of error were +/- 3.0% and 3.5% respectively at a 95 percent confidence for questions asked of all respondents.

Glenn Branch
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Glenn Branch is Deputy Director of NCSE.


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