Table Of Contents

    This fact sheet provides information on climate change polling in the United States over the last year from a variety of sources. Overall, the studies show:

    • Belief that climate change is happening and is caused by human actions is continuing to rise, but it still has not reached a level comparable to the 2007 peak
    • There is a large 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, the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) proposed carbon dioxide regulations for power plants have widespread support, even across party lines
    • There is also support for somewhat higher electricity bills if it means decreasing carbon dioxide pollution 





    Climate Change Surveys 2013 to 2014


    CBS News/New York Times                  September 10-14, 2014                  Sample: 1,000 American adults

    • 54% of Americans said global warming is happening, and caused by human behavior; 31% said global warming is happening because of natural causes
    • 42% said global warming is an “imminent threat”
    • 61% of Democrats and 26% of Republicans said global warming is having impacts right now


    Pew Research/USA Today                  August 20-24, 2014                  Sample: 1,501 American adults

    • 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


    Quinnipiac University                  June 24-30, 2014                  Sample: 1,446 registered American voters

    • 58% of voters support federal government limitations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants
    • 30% of voters do not support federal government limits on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants


    NBC News/Wall Street Journal                     June 11-15, 2014                  Sample: 1,000 American adults

    • 67% of Americans support the carbon regulations proposed by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)
    • 31% of Americans believe immediate action should be taken to combat climate change
    • 57% approve of a proposal that would curb greenhouse gas emissions from companies, even if it leads to higher energy bills


    Bloomberg National Poll                  June 6-9, 2014                  Sample: 1,005 American adults

    • 46% of Americans said climate change is a major threat
    • 50% of Americans think climate action should be taken in the next 10 years
    • 51% said that a candidate's support for climate action would make them more likely to vote for them


    Resources for the Future/Stanford University           June 4-8, 2014           Sample: 1,023 American adults

    • 73% of Americans believe the world’s temperature is increasing, and 33% believe that warming is caused by human action
    • Nearly 90% of Americans favor government action to address climate change, and only 27% believe such action will harm the economy
    • 49% of respondents said there should be laws requiring power plants to lower greenhouse gas emissions


    ABC News/Washington Post                  May 29-June 1, 2014                  Sample: 1,002 American adults

    • 84% of Democrats and 49% of Republicans see climate change as a serious problem
    • 70% of respondents support the EPA’s new proposed regulations to reduce carbon dioxide emissions from power plants
    • 63% of Americans would support carbon reductions even if it led to an increase in their energy costs


    CBS                  May 16-19, 2014                  Sample: 1,009 American adults

    • 46% of respondents believe global climate change is a serious problem that is currently having an impact
    • 49% believe that global warming is mostly caused by the human activity of burning fossil fuels
    • 32% are very concerned about global warming, while 34% are somewhat concerned


    Public Religion Research Institute/Brookings                  April 7-27, 2014                  Sample: 1,538 adults

    • 23% of affiliated Democrats believe that enacting policies to address climate change should be the highest priority for President Obama and Congress
    • 6% of Republicans think that climate policies should be the highest priority
    • 18% of Americans as a whole say climate change should be the highest political priority


    University of Michigan                  March 24-April 9, 2014                  Sample: 798 American adults

    • After this past winter, one third of respondents said they don’t believe in global warming
    • 56% of Americans who don’t believe in evidence of global warming said that their own weather observations are a main factor
    • 15% believe that milder winters have a ‘very large’ influence on their acceptance of global warming, while 24% say milder winters have a ‘somewhat’ large influence on their opinion
    • 55% of Americans believe there is solid evidence for climate change, a 6% decline since fall 2013


    Yale and Harvard Universities                   April/May, 2014                  Sample: 1,800 Americans

    • 75% of Democrats believe that global warming is caused by humans, while 58% of Republicans did not believe there was solid evidence that warming was occurring
    • Very liberal or strong Democrats are much more likely to believe that global warming poses a very high risk to human health and safety, while strong Republicans are more likely to believe that it poses no risk at all


    Yale and George Mason University                  April 11-21, 2014                  Sample: 1,013 American adults

    • 52% of Americans think global warming, if it is happening, is caused by humans
    • 55% of Americans are “somewhat worried” about climate change; 15% are “very worried”
    • 16% of Americans say thousands of people worldwide are dying annually from global warming
    • 6% think humans can and will reduce global warming; 42% think humans could reduce global warming, but whether we will or not is unclear


    The AP-GfK                  March 20-24, 2014                  Sample: 1,012 American Adults

    • 33% of Americans are extremely or very confident that the temperature of the world is rising because of man-made heat trapping gases
    • 15% are not at all confident that the temperature is rising because of the burning of greenhouse gases


    Harris                  March 12-17, 2014                  Sample: 2,234 American adults

    • 45% of Americans believe that climate change exists and that humans are mainly responsible for it
    • 30% believe climate change is happening, but that it is not mainly related to human activity
    • 13% do not believe that climate change exists
    • 31% think the severity of the 2013/2014 winter is proof that climate change is not happening


    Gallup                  March 6-9, 2014                  Sample: 1,048 American adults

    • 65% of Americans support setting stricter emissions and pollution standards on industry and businesses
    • 63% support setting mandatory carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas (GHG) limits
    • However, both of these numbers have gone down significantly since 2007, when 84% supported stricter emissions and pollution standards on industry and 79% supported mandatory CO2 and GHG limits


    Gallup                  March 6-9, 2014                  Sample: 1,048 American adults

    • 39% of Americans are “Concerned Believers,” meaning they believe global warming is happening, and is caused by humans
    • 36% of Americans are “Mixed Middle,” signifying they hold a combination of views
    • 25% of Americans are “Cool Skeptics,” which means they are not worried much about global warming


    Gallup                  March 6-9, 2014                  Sample: 513 American adults

    • 24% of those polled said they worry about climate change a great deal, while 31% worry about the quality of the environment
    • 36% of Democrats worry about the issue of climate change a great deal, while 10% of Republicans worry about it a great deal


    Pew Research Center                  January 15-19, 2014                  Sample: 1,504 American adults

    • 29% of Americans viewed climate change as a "top priority" for President Obama and Congress this year, ranking 19th out of 20 issues tested
    • 42% of Democrats view “dealing with global warming” as a “top priority”
    • 49% of Americans view protecting the environment as a “top priority,” ranking 12th out of 20


    Yale and George Mason Universities                Nov. 23–Dec. 9, 2013                Sample: 830 American adults

    • 37% of Americans (almost four in ten) think global warming should be a high priority for the President and Congress, and 71% say it should be a medium priority
    • 60% of Americans said the United States should reduce greenhouse gas emissions, regardless of other countries’ actions
    • 83% of Americans say the U.S. should act on global warming, even if there are economic costs


    Yale and George Mason Universities                Nov. 23–Dec. 9, 2013                Sample: 830 American adults

    • 38% of those surveyed believe they will be personally harmed by climate change, 65% believe future generations will be harmed, and 65% believe plant and animal species will be harmed
    • 63% of Americans believe climate change is happening, while 23% of Americans don’t believe it is
    • The percentage of Americans who were previously ‘unsure’ about climate change has dropped from 20% in Spring 2013, to 14% in Fall 2013
    • 42% of Americans felt ‘hopeful’ when thinking about climate change, while 42% said they felt helpless, 42% felt disgusted and 40% felt sad


    USA Today                  Nov. 20 – Dec. 5, 2013                  Sample: 801 American adults

    • Three in five Americans see global warming as a serious problem, with two in three Americans believing it will have lasting negative effects on future generations
    • 71% of Americans say they can see the physical effects of global warming
    • 28% of Americans believe that global warming made the damage from Superstorm Sandy ‘much worse,’ although 41% of Americans believe global warming did not impact Sandy
    • 55% of Americans support regulations on power plant greenhouse gas emissions


    National Resources Defense Council           Nov. 25- Dec. 4, 2013           Sample: 850 Latino Americans

    • Nine in ten Latinos want the government to take action on climate change
    • 68% of Republican Latinos say it is important (and 46% say very or extremely important) for the U.S. government to take action on climate change
    • 86% of Latinos support limiting carbon dioxide emissions from power plants


    Pew Research Center                  October 9-13, 2013                  Sample 1,504 American adults

    • Two thirds (67%) of the  American public say there is “solid evidence” of climate change
    • 44% of Americans say there is both “solid evidence” for climate change and it is caused by human activity; 18% believe climate change is naturally occurring
    • 66% of Democrats, 24% of Republicans, and 43% of Independents say climate change is happening, and is caused by human activity


    Huffington Post/YouGov                  June 19-20, 2013                  Sample: 1,000 American adults

    • 33% of Americans approve of how the president is handling the issue of climate change, while 40% disapprove of the president’s handling of climate change
    • 63% of Democrats approve of Obama’s  work on climate change, along with 27% of independents and 6% of Republicans
    • 47% of Americans said they approve of new climate change policies, while 32% oppose them.


    Yale and George Mason Universities                  April 8–15, 2013                  Sample: 1,045 American adults

    • Two thirds (63%) of Americans surveyed said they believe climate change is happening – a 7% drop since Fall 2012
    • 51% of those surveyed are ‘somewhat worried’ or ‘very worried’ about climate change, also a 7 percent drop from Fall 2012
    • Four out of ten Americans are worried about climate change affecting their community (45%), their family (44%), or themselves (42%)


    Authors: Katherine Lynn and Emily Jackson

    Editor: Laura Small -