Ten Years of Belief and Disbelief in Climate Change


(upbeat music) – From Muhlenberg College,
I’m Maye-gan Brown, student director of the
Institute of Public Opinion. Muhlenberg and the University of Michigan recently released the latest report from National Survey on
Energy and Environment, marking the 10th anniversary
of this collaborative survey. So how have American’s views
on climate changed over time, and where do they stand now? Here’s what you need to
know about the latest National Survey on Energy and Environment. Skepticism of global
warming is lower than ever. In our latest survey,
just 13% of Americans don’t see solid evidence
of global warming, marking the lowest level of skepticism in 21 surveys dating back to 2008. Americans who acknowledge global warming are gaining confidence in their belief. Nearly half of the Americans who believe in global warming express strong confidence
in their beliefs. In 2008, only a third of Americans had that same level of confidence. But belief in global warming varies greatly along political lines. Nearly 90% of Democrats believe there is solid evidence of global warming, while less than 60% of
Republicans feel the same way. Independents fall squarely in the middle, with about 75% pointing to strong evidence of warmer climate. And according to your
religious affiliation and demographic background. Statistically, individuals who identified as atheist, agnostic, or Jewish had the highest level of
climate change acceptance, while Evangelical
Christians had the lowest. The highest levels of acceptance
among demographic groups included 90% of Asian-Americans, 87% of African-Americans, and 82% of Hispanic
and Latino populations. Only 65% of white Americans
believed solid evidence exists. Most Americans believe that humans are responsible for climate change. In our latest survey, approximately 60% of Americans surveyed said that humans have
influenced the planet’s climate. But as with belief in
global warming itself, the role of humanity on global warming has remained sharply contested
along political party lines. Personal experience is one of
the most influential factors for both believers and skeptics. Survey respondents cited
their personal experience with higher temperatures,
extreme weather events, and reports of declining
glaciers and polar ice as the most influential factors impacting climate-change beliefs. Interesting enough, similar experiences held weight for skeptics, who pointed to recent cold
winters as well as doubts about the integrity of scientific studies as their reasons for
disbelief in global warming. To learn more about the
findings of this latest report as well as other state
and national surveys, visit the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion website at muhlenberg.edu/polling. (upbeat music)

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