Friday, September 16, 2011

Politics & Global Warming

Learn how political affiliation affects acceptance of scientific findinds in this infographic.
Source: LiveScience
A survey report, “Politics & Global Warming”, by George Mason University and The Yale Project on Climate Change Communication details how Democrats, Republicans, Independents, and members of the Tea Party respond to the issue of global warming.

The Tea Party has become an important new player in American politics, so this report for the first time separates their views on global warming from the traditional political categories of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents.

The wide accord on energy research, incentives for efficient vehicles and renewable electricity — and expanded domestic oil and gas production — identified by this survey is particularly noteworthy.

Here are some key findings of the survey:

Global Warming Beliefs

Majorities of Democrats (78%), Independents (71%) and Republicans (53%) believe that global warming is happening. By contrast, only 34 percent of Tea Party members believe global warming is happening, while 53 percent say it is not happening.

While 62 percent of Democrats say that global warming is caused mostly by human activities, most Tea Party members say it is either naturally caused (50%) or isn’t happening at all (21%).

A majority of Democrats (55%) say that most scientists think global warming is happening, while majorities of Republicans (56%) and Tea Party members (69%) say that there is a lot of disagreement among scientists about whether or not global warming is happening.

A large majority of Democrats (72%) worry about global warming, compared to 53 percent of Independents, 38 percent of Republicans, and 24 percent of Tea Party members. Over half (51%) of Tea Party members say they are not at all worried about global warming.

Tea Party members are much more likely to say that they are “very well informed” about global warming than the other groups. Likewise, they are also much more likely to say they “do not need any more information” about global warming to make up their mind.

Support for Climate and Energy Policies

Majorities of all four political groups support funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power and providing tax rebates for people who purchase energy efficient vehicles or solar panels.

Majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support requiring electric utilities to produce at least 20% of their electricity from renewable energy sources, even if it cost the average household an extra $100 a year. A majority of Tea Party members, however, oppose this policy, with 39 percent strongly opposed.

Likewise, majorities of Democrats, Independents and Republicans support an international treaty to cut carbon dioxide emissions. A large majority of Tea Party members, however, oppose a treaty, with 55 percent strongly opposed.

Majorities of all four parties support the expansion of offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast, with 46 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of Tea Party members strongly supportive.

A majority of Democrats oppose building more nuclear power plants (65%), while majorities of Independents (52%), Republicans (62%) and Tea Party members (67%) support building them.

However, only a majority of Tea Party members (52%) would support building a nuclear power plant in their own local area. All other groups would be opposed.

In reviewing the study, I found thinking about the Tea Party's social media communications strategy to disseminate conservative text and video content developed by conservative think tanks in coordination with conservative talk radio and attack blogs in the context of recent research at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute concluding that when 10 percent of the population holds an unshakable belief, that belief will always be adopted by the majority of the society. The conservative movement only needs to convince 10 percent of America that their propaganda is fact and that 10 percent will eventually convince the other 90 percent. The Tea Party represents more than 30 percent of America...

The results of the survey come from a nationally representative survey of 1,010 American adults, aged 18 and older, conducted April 23 through May 12, 2011.

The samples were weighted to correspond with US Census Bureau parameters for the United States. The surveys were designed by Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University and Edward Maibach and Connie Roser-Renouf of George Mason University and conducted by Knowledge Networks, using a representative online research panel of American adults. The margin of sampling error for the national average results is plus or minus 3 percent, with 95 percent confidence.

More @ The George Mason Univ. Center for Climate Change Communication and Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication, discusses the divergent views of Americans over climate change.

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