Gallup’s annual environment poll reports that more people in the U.S. care about climate change than at any time in the last eight years.
The poll was conducted by telephone during the first week of March, on a random sample of 1,019 adults in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia.
- 64% of adults said that they worry a “great deal” or a “fair amount” about global warming, which represents a 55% increase from March 2015. It’s also the highest result since 2008.
- 59% view the effects as already beginning, up from 55% a year ago.
- 41% said that global warming will pose a serious threat to them in their lifetimes, up from 37% in 2015.
- Only 10% replied that the effects will never happen, down from 16% last year.
- 65% agreed that increases in the Earth’s temperature during the last century are due primarily to human activities, not natural causes. This number jumped a full 10% points since last March.
So what does this mean for the November, 2016 election, and the Republican and Democratic Party nominating conventions this summer? While concern about climate change has increased among all party groups during the past year, Democrats and independents report double-digit increases in respondents attributing warmer temperatures to human activities. Republicans show a four percentage point increase.
Gallup concludes: “A confluence of factors — the economic downturn, the Climategate controversy and some well-publicized pushback against global warming science — may have dampened public concern about global warming from about 2009 to 2015. However, Americans are now expressing record- or near-record-high belief that global warming is happening, as well as concern about the issue. Several years of unseasonably warm weather — including the 2011-12, 2012-13, and 2015-16 winters — has potentially contributed to this shift in attitudes.”