American's Attitudes About Climate Change 'Generally Stable' But Poorly Worded Polls Hide That

Ben and Kaz Askins/CC BY 2.0

If you've followed the annual polls on American's attitudes about global warming over the past few years, you'll notice an apparent significant decline. The majority of American people (if not politicians) still think global warming is happening, but the decline seems to be there.

But according interviews in Climate Progress with Jon Krosnick of Stanford University (who supplied the chart below) and author of "Who Speaks for the Climate?" Max Boykoff , the usual wording in these polls may be skewing the results. In fact, "people's underlying beliefs about climate change [are] 'generally stable.'"

© Jon Krosnick via ThinkProgress

Citing a poll from the Pew Research Center, people were asked, "From what you've read and heard, is there solid evidence that the average temperature on earth has been getting warmer of the past few decades or not?"

Which frames the question in terms of media coverage of the issue, not necessarily what people think. When you look at the varying levels of media coverage of climate change (which most recently peaked in 2009 around COP15 and have since fallen back to 2005 levels) then it's not surprising that polls are going to change accordingly.

Read more: Climate Progress

Tags: Global Climate Change