The Campaign Spot

Climate Change Belief Down 27 Percentage Points in Four Years?

A fascinating bit of polling found over at UPI:

Three-quarters of Americans say natural disasters are on the increase, but fewer than ever believe the climate is heating up, a new poll finds..

.Only 44 percent say they “believe the theory” that carbon dioxide emissions are warming the Earth, down from 51 percent in 2009 and 71 percent in 2007, but most movement has been into the “not sure” column.

The online poll of 2,163 adults was conducted June 13 through 20. Harris does not give margin-of-error figures.

I can’t help but notice that this steep drop in belief in global warming coincides with three years’ worth of tough economic times. There’s been plenty of controversy surrounding the issue in recent years (“Hide the decline!“) but I wonder if the simplest explanation is that when Americans are worried about paying the bills, losing their jobs, finding a job, avoiding foreclosure, coping with high gas prices, etc., they’re less worried about things like what global temperatures will be like in 20, 50, or 100 years. Worrying about such things seems silly, in fact, when the bill collector is at the door and there are no employment prospects in sight.

In times like these, global warming belief may be a luxury item.

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