WASHINGTON (CNN) - A new national poll indicates that a majority of Americans think that global warming is real, and that the federal government can do something to slow or stop the phenomenon.
Fifty-four percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Tuesday say that global warming is occurring and that Washington can take steps to slow the rate of global warming, or eventually stop it altogether. Twenty-seven percent agree that global warming is real, but think the federal government is powerless to stop it or slow it down, and 17 percent say that global warming is not occurring.
"Two-thirds of Democrats think that the government can do something about global warming, but only a third of Republicans feel that way," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The same number of Republicans don't believe that global warming is happening at all. Only one in 20 Democrats think global warming is a myth."
The poll also suggests that a slight majority oppose a proposal called "cap and trade," which would allow the federal government to limit the emissions from industrial facilities such as power plants and factories that some people believe cause global warming. Companies that exceed the limit could avoid fines or higher taxes by paying money to other companies that produced fewer emissions than allowed. Forty-four percent support "cap and trade," which is backed by the Obama administration.
The survey's release comes on the same day that more than 30 congressional Democrats met with President Obama at the White House to discuss the issue. The president is trying to prevent progress on climate change, one of his signature issues, from being derailed by divisions within his own party over "cap and trade."
"Since more than four in ten Americans believe that the government can do nothing about global warming, a cap-and-trade proposal - or any other government action that is meant to reduce global warming - may be a hard sell," Holland says.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted April 23-26, with 2,019 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.