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Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in March 2012

Americans’ Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in March 2012

 

Highlights

  • 66 percent of Americans believe global warming is happening (a 3% increase since November 2011), but the proportion who said global warming is caused by human activities decreased from 50 to 46 percent.
  • While only 14 percent of Americans said they do not believe global warming is happening, respondents incorrectly estimated that 21 percent of Americans do not believe in global warming.
  • 47 percent of respondents said they trust President Obama as a source of global warming information.
  • Only 21 percent, however, trust former governor Mitt Romney, whose trust levels have dropped 5 points since November 2011, with "strong distrust" increasing 8 points to 39 percent.

Americans' Global Warming Beliefs and Attitudes in March 2012 reports results from a national survey of Americans' global warming beliefs and attitudes. Overall, Americans' beliefs and attitudes about global warming have remained relatively stable over the past several months, with a few exceptions. There has been a slight increase in the proportion of people that believe global warming is happening and a slight decrease in the proportion that believe it is caused by mostly by human activities. There has also been a slight decrease in the proportion of people who believe that most scientists think global warming is happening; this decline is at odds with the widespread agreement among scientists that global warming is happening and primarily human caused. The public also overestimates the level of global warming disbelief in the United States.

Finally, in this election year, we find that approximately half of Americans (47%) trust President Obama as a source of information about global warming, which is essentially unchanged since November of 2011. By contrast, only 21 percent of Americans trust Mitt Romney on this issue and his level of trust dropped 5 points since November, with “strong distrust” increasing by 8 points to 39 percent.