Global warming poll: More Americans accept fault but don't think it affects them

These numbers show the next big front in the climate change fight.

4/26/2021 12:33:00 PM

Polling data shows there is an increasing understanding that humans do play a large role in earth's changing environment — but sharp political divides and challenges to action still remain. - MeetThePress

These numbers show the next big front in the climate change fight.

ByDante ChinniWASHINGTON — It's been more than 50 years since the words"Earth Day" entered the country's environmental lexicon, and polling data show there is an increasing understanding that humans do, in fact, play a large role in earth's changing environment.

Happy Birthday, Billboard Charts! On July 27, 1940, the First Song Sales Survey Debuted Athletes offer support after Simone Biles withdraws from Olympics team final Ashton Kutcher and Mila Kunis say they don't believe in bathing their kids or themselves too much

Nonetheless, sharp political divides and challenges to action still remain. Survey data from the Yale Program on Climate Communication tells a story of change and differences among states.In 2014, the program looked at a series of questions around climate change including whether people believed"global warming is mostly caused by human activities."

Only about 48 percent of Americans believe that statement to be true. And at the state level, the idea got 50 percent or more support in only 18 states.Why does the opinion at the state level matter? Because state sends two senators to Washington and, in 2014, those numbers showed how hard it might be to get legislation through Congress.

New data from last fall, however, shows how much has changed since then.Asked the same question in 2020, a majority of Americans, 57 percent, said they believed that"human activities" were mostly responsible for"global warming." That's a 9-point shift.

And, perhaps even more remarkable, a majority of people agreed with that statement in 46 states. The only places that were under 50 percent — Kentucky, North Dakota, West Virginia and Wyoming — are states with deep ties to energy extraction.It's impossible to know for certain what drove that change, but the extreme weather events of the last few years, from hurricanes and floods to deep droughts and wildfires, might have played a role. Whatever drove the shift, however, those numbers suggest it should be easier for Congress to take action on climate change. Getting people to see the world differently is not easy.

That said, there are still some sharp divides in the data when you consider the 2020 presidential results.The percentage believing in human-caused climate change is quite high in states that voted for President Joe Biden last November. The average for those states, 59 percent, is a big number in a country as divided as the United States is right now. Nine of the Biden states are above 60 percent on the question and no state is below 53 percent.

But in states that voted for former President Donald Trump, the average figure is lower, at just 52 percent. None of the Trump states gets to the national average figure of 57 percent and, of course, the four states where a majority don’t believe in human-driven climate change all voted for Trump.

Opinion: Elite male athletes play in shorts and tank tops, women basically in bikinis ‘This is not a political campaign, this is deadly serious’: Cheney speaks after Jan. 6 hearing At 1st Jan. 6 committee hearing, police officers recount brutal, racist attack by Trump mob

Those differences matter because polling majorities don't always equal action and those states are close enough that a vocal minority can carry a lot of sway.The Yale data also reveal what may be the next big front in the climate change fight. Most Americans do not believe they will be personally affected by global warming, and going state-to-state, the numbers show even less personal concern.

A majority of people say they feel that they will be personally affected by global warming in only two states, California and Hawaii (as well as the District of Columbia). In most of the other 48 states, there is concern about the issue, but not concern that they personally will suffer ill effects.

That's worth noting because eventually the climate change debate will shift to the question of what's to be done and the answer will require billions of dollars in federal, state and local funding. And that may be tougher to get out of a public that doesn't feel it has skin in the game.

To be clear, the numbers here are not necessarily bad news for those concerned about climate change. They suggest that changing attitudes on the issue is possible and it can happen quickly. But they also show that for environmental activists there still seems to be work to be done if the goal is large-scale political action.

Dante Chinni Read more: MSNBC »

Jeff Bezos' spaceflight: Live updates

Jeff Bezos will fly to space today on the first crewed flight of the New Shepard, the rocket ship made by his space company, Blue Origin. Follow here for live updates.

MeetThePress 'There are none so blind as those who will not see.' MeetThePress being gaslighted by the very people we've elected MeetThePress Republicans : morons MeetThePress Ya when it happens in their backyard often, they seem to notice eh? MeetThePress MeetThePress Because y’all keep pushing fake science behind it

MeetThePress More brainwashed sheep everyday. Record cold spring and people still believe in man made global warming. Oh wait, I forgot, it’s climate change. Since it’s getting cooler now😂 MeetThePress What part of Global warming did humans play at the end of the ice age? Or where Wholly Mammoths driving around in V8 SUVs?

MeetThePress Hahahah. 😂 MeetThePress MEDIA DISINFORMATION~~WHY Is Twitter/And The Media Allowing False Information? With Posts Like~~Mostly Black People Killed By Cops?...According To The Numbers This Is FALSE NEWS~~