Poll: Young Americans Are Becoming Global Warming Skeptics

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Michael Bastasch DCNF Managing Editor
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Young Americans are more likely than their elders to be skeptical of arguments that human activities are causing catastrophic global warming, according to a Harvard University poll.

A Harvard Public Opinion Project, reported by the Harvard Political Review, found that the “assumption that younger adults are more liberal when it comes to global warming does not hold up; if anything, they are even more skeptical.” Not only that, but young Americans are not very supportive of government efforts to regulate carbon dioxide.

The Harvard poll found that the “youngest survey respondents were more conservative than any other age group, with only 28 percent of 18 to 20-year-olds” agreeing that the government should do more to fight global warming. The survey also found that only “eight percent [of young people are] in strong agreement with that statement.”

“Not only are the newest voters less convinced of climate change as a reality; they are also less likely to support government funding of climate change solutions,” according to HPR.

Young Americans were also the least likely to agree with the statement that “[g]lobal warming is a proven fact and is mostly caused by emissions from cars and industrial facilities such as power plants.” An inconvenient fact that does not bode well for Democrats staking their legacy on environmental issues.

Why are young Americans so skeptical of global warming? The HPR does not speculate, but notes that President Barack Obama’s recent use of comedian Keegan-Michael Key to vent his frustrations on global warming might help get young people on his side on the issue.

Obama used Key at the White House Correspondents Association Dinner last Saturday as his “anger translator” to vent his frustration on issues like global warming. Eventually Obama went on a scripted rant himself, “[e]very serious scientist says we need to act. The Pentagon says it’s a national security risk.”

Obama even chastised Oklahoma Republican Sen. Jim Inhofe for throwing a snowball on the Senate floor, saying “what kind of stupid, shortsighted, irresponsible–” before being cut off by Key during the comedy routine.

But does a scripted rant at an event that few young people probably watched help Obama’s cause? It remains to be seen.

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