A 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."