Gallup Poll: More Old People, Republicans and Independents
March 11, 2009, 6:09 PM
Gallup: Rising View That Climate Risk Exaggerated?
By ANDREW C. REVKIN
The Gallup polling organization has come out with its annual survey on environmental issues
and marks some noteworthy trends, including rising concerns about how news accounts have portrayed the issue:
Although a majority of Americans believe that the seriousness of global warming is either correctly portrayed in the news or underestimated, a record-high of 41 percent now say that it is exaggerated.
That’s the highest percentage over more than a decade of relevant polling. The rise in what Gallup calls “cynicism” about descriptions of the problem has all occurred in people over 30, with respondents from 18 to 29 years old still the most likely group to say the problem is underestimated.
The polling group summarizes the full survey this way:
Importantly, Gallup’s annual March update on the environment shows a drop in public concern about global warming across several different measures, suggesting that the global warming message may have lost some footing with Americans over the past year. Gallup has documented declines in public concern about the environment at times when other issues, such as a major economic downturn or a national crisis like 9/11, absorbed Americans’ attention. To some extent that may be true today, given the troubling state of the U.S. economy. However, the solitary drop in concern this year about global warming, among the eight specific environmental issues Gallup tested, suggests that something unique may be happening with the issue.
Other surveys have tracked related trends. What’s your take on what’s going on? There’s the economy, the rising debate over energy and climate legislation, the long-term nature of the projected warming, the flickers of natural climate variability, the pendulum-like nature of media focus, the inconsistent quality of media coverage, or?
The Gallup survey was conducted from March 5-8, after the recent flareup in the blogosphere over George Will’s columns challenging scientific and media accounts of impending climatic catastrophe.
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