A new poll on climate change and political views

Report coverA new report from the Yale Program on Climate Communication offers new data on Americans' beliefs and attitudes about climate change, with a particular emphasis on the influence of political views.

Asked "Do you think that global warming is happening?" 73% of respondents answered yes, 11% answered no, and 15% answered don't know. According to the report, "Large majorities of Democrats — liberal (95%) and moderate/conservative (80%)—think it is happening, as do three in four Independents (74%, up 15 points since Spring 2014) and the majority of liberal/moderate Republicans (71%, up 10 points). By contrast, only 47% of conservative Republicans think global warming is happening."

Presented with  "Assuming global warming is happening, do you think it is ..." and asked to complete the sentence, 56% of respondents preferred "Caused mostly by human activities," 34% preferred "Caused mostly by natural changes in the environment," 4% volunteered "Caused by both human activities and natural changes," and 5% preferred "None of the above because global warming isn't happening." Opinion was politically divided, with a majority of Democrats but a minority of conservative Republicans accepting human responsibility.

Asked "[W]hat percentage of climate scientists think that human-caused global warming is happening," 13% provided a number in the correct range 90-100%, 63% provided a number in the correct range 50-100%, and 25% indicated that they didn't know enough to say. According to the report, "Liberal Democrats (38%) are nearly 10 times more likely than Republicans (4%) to understand that the scientific consensus is 90% or higher, but nonetheless a majority of liberal Democrats do not yet understand this either."

The data were "based on a nationally representative survey of 1,004 American adults, aged 18 and older, who are registered to vote. The survey was conducted March 18-31, 2016. All questionnaires were self-administered by respondents in a web-based environment."