Table Of Contents
This fact sheet provides information on climate change polling in the United States over the last eight months from a variety of sources. Overall the studies show:
- The number of Americans saying that climate change is happening and is caused by human actions continues to rise, but still has not reached a level comparable to the 2007 peak.
- There is a disparity among party lines when it comes to climate change, with a large majority of Democrats believing that human actions are changing the climate, while fewer Republicans hold the same belief. However, strong majorities of self-described liberal and moderate Republicans say climate change is happening.
- There is bipartisan support for the federal government to regulate greenhouse gases.
CLIMATE CHANGE SURVEYS 2014 to 2015
- 59% of responders want the next president to favor government action to address climate change.
- 31% of those who favor action on climate change responded that it is “extremely important” to elect a president who favors government action on climate change, 37% said it is “very important,” and 27% said it is “somewhat important.”
Saint Leo University March 15 – 19, 2015 Survey Group: 1,016 American adults
- 30% of survey respondents said they were “very concerned” about global climate change, and 43% said they were “somewhat concerned.”
- 56% of those surveyed said it is the federal government’s responsibility to deal with problems associated with global warming; 43% said it is the state government’s responsibility, and 38% said it is the local government’s responsibility (answers were not mutually exclusive).
- 90% of students surveyed said climate change is happening and “significantly” driven by human activity.
- 87% of students surveyed said automobiles contribute to climate change; 56% view fossil-fuel produced electricity as a major contributor to climate change; 72% said deforestation contributes to climate change.
Gallup March 5 – 8, 2015 Sample: 1,025 American adults
- 32% of Americans surveyed said they “personally worry” a “great deal” about global warming.
- 52% of those identifying as Democrats said they worry a “great deal” about climate change, while 13% of respondents identifying as Republicans said they worry a “great deal” about climate change.
- 72% of those surveyed said they were “personally morally obligated” to reduce carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions.
- 66% of those surveyed said world leaders are “morally obligated” to take action to reduce CO2 emissions.
- 89% of surveyed physicians said climate change is happening; 68% said it is caused entirely or mostly by human behavior.
- 44% of those surveyed said they felt “modestly knowledgeable about the association between climate change and health impacts,” 31% felt “moderately knowledgeable,” and 7% felt “very knowledgeable.”
- 65% of physicians thought climate change was relevant to caring for patients (41% said it is “a moderate amount” relevant to direct patient care, and 24% a “great deal” relevant to direct patient care).
- 72% of those surveyed support an international climate change agreement.
- 88% of respondents identifying as Democrats support the U.S. participating in an international climate change agreement; 73% of those identifying as Independents and 52% of those identifying as Republicans agree.
- 85% of likely voters who identified as African-American support an international climate change agreement; 79% of those identifying as Hispanic voters also support a climate change agreement.
- 65% of likely voters support reductions in carbon emissions and greenhouse gasses.
- 44% of Americans said global warming poses a “very serious” threat for the United States, while 34% said global warming poses a “somewhat serious” threat.
- 83% of those surveyed said global warming will be a serious problem for the world in the future.
- 78% of those surveyed said the federal government should limit the amount of greenhouse gases that U.S. businesses emit.
PEW Research Center January 7 – 11, 2015 Sample: 1,504 American adults
- 38% of survey respondents believe climate change legislation should be a top priority for President Obama and Members of Congress; 29% of the respondents believe it is an important, but lower priority.
- 54% of Democrats said climate change should be a top priority for President Obama and Congress, while 15% of Republicans said climate change should be a top priority.
- 44% of likely voters think climate change is a result of human activity.
- 49% of likely voters are in favor of the federal government regulating carbon dioxide (CO2) and other greenhouse gas emissions more strictly.
- 53% of voters feel it is important that Congress pass climate change legislation next year (29% say “somewhat important,” while 24% say “very important”).
Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies *six combined surveys: March 2012 - October 2014 Sample: 6,603 American adults, including 5,513 registered voters
- 44% of registered voters who self-identified as Republicans said climate change is happening.
- 68% of registered voters who self-identified as “liberal Republicans” think climate change is happening, while 62% of those identifying as “moderate Republicans” think it is happening.
- 60% of respondents said global warming is occurring due to man-made causes.
- 71% of respondents said using alternative energy sources would most effectively combat climate change.
- 54% of Americans said global warming is happening, and is caused by human behavior; 31% said global warming is happening because of natural causes.
- 42% view global warming as an “imminent threat.”
- 61% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans said global warming is currently having a serious impact.
ecoAmerica September 2014 Sample: 1,737 American adults
- 74% of African-Americans, 83% of Asian-Americans, and 73% of Hispanic/Latino Americans are convinced climate change is happening.
- Of those surveyed, 87% of African-Americans, 84% of Asian-Americans, and 81% of Hispanic/Latino Americans demonstrate a “strong willingness to prepare” for the harmful impacts of global warming.
- 48% of those surveyed said climate change is a “major threat” to the United States; 30% said it was a “minor threat.”
- 68% of registered Democrats view climate change as one of the greatest threats to the United States, compared to 25% of Republicans and 44% of Independents.
Granite State Poll August 2014 Sample: 500 New Hampshire residents
- 55% of respondents said climate change is happening, and caused “mainly by human activities,” while 34% of respondents said climate change is happening, but caused “mainly by natural forces.”
- 43% of those surveyed said that “most scientists agree that climate change is happening now, and is caused mainly by human activities.”
- 71% of those surveyed said the late summer ice on the Arctic Ocean covers less surface area than it did 30 years ago.
Author: Alison Alford