Energy

Yale Poll: Global Warming Now A More Polarizing Issue Than Abortion

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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Global warming is a more polarizing issue than gay marriage or abortion, according to an Associated Press article citing a new Yale University poll.

Yale researchers found only 17 percent of Americans are “extremely concerned” by global warming and want immediate action, while another 28 percent are “concerned,” but don’t think it’s an immediate problem. The poll estimates about 10 percent of Americans reject global warming’s scientific validity, and 11 percent think the science behind global warming is dubious.

Roughly 27 percent of the population doesn’t know what to believe on global warming, and the remaining 7 percent don’t care.

“It’s more politically polarizing than abortion,” Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, wrote in a press statement. “It’s more politically polarizing than gay marriage.”

The Yale poll found that individuals “extremely concerned” or “concerned” about global warming are more likely to vote for Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton than individuals who are pro-choice or pro-gay marriage. Individuals who reject global warming’s scientific validity are more likely to vote for Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump than pro-life or anti-gay marriage voters.

Despite the polarization, researchers found Americans who were “extremely concerned” about global warming listed it and “protecting the environment” as their top political issues. Every other category of concern about global warming regarded it as less important than “the economy,” “healthcare,” or “terrorism.”

This result closely matches other polling. Despite the heavy media and political pressure, Americans aren’t very concerned about global warming compared to citizens of other countries, according to a Pew Research Center study published in December. Thirty-six of the forty industrialized nations surveyed were more concerned about global warming than America.

Ironically, the Yale survey notes that people with the most extreme positions on global warming on both sides were the  best-educated groups on the science. Individuals skeptical of global warming were at least as well educated as ardent believers.

Surveys cited in the research indicate that about 90 percent of Democrats and 80 percent of independents believe global warming will be a serious or very serious problem for America, but barely half of Republicans feel that way.

Polling was conducted in March 2016 from a nationally representative survey of 1,204 American adults with a margin of error of 3 percent.

Yale pollsters previously determined that one in seven Americans think that global warming is a sign of the apocalypse. The previous poll asked more than 1,200 adults their religious views regarding the end of the world and found 4 percent of Americans believe global warming is “definitely” a sign, while another 10 percent believe it’s “probably” a sign of the end of days. Eighteen percent said they were “not sure” if global warming meant the apocalypse was near.

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