November 24th, 2009
06:05 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Global warming skepticism on the rise

Washington (CNN) – A new national poll indicates that some Americans are cooling to global warming.

According to an ABC News/Washington Post survey released Tuesday - less than two weeks before the start of a global conference on climate change in Copenhagen, Denmark - 72 percent of those polled believe that climate change is happening, down 8 points over the past year.

The poll indicates that the rise in skepticism is mostly due to a shift among Republicans and independents. According to the survey, 54 percent of Republicans questioned believe global warming is happening, down 22 points over the past three-and-a-half years, with a drop of 15 points among independents. The belief in climate change dipped 6 points among Democrats during the same period of time.

The survey's release comes as a Democratic-sponsored "cap-and-trade" proposal to cut pollution slowly makes it way through Congress. The bill calls for the federal government to limit the amount of greenhouse gases that companies can produce in their factories or power plants, and to penalize companies that exceed greenhouse gas limits with fines or by making those businesses pay money to other companies that produce less pollution.


The legislation narrowly passed the House this summer, but won't be considered by the full Senate until next spring. According to the poll, Americans support such a bill by a 53 percent to 42 percent margin. Six in 10 people questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey conducted last month supported a "cap and trade" bill.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted November 12-15, with 1,001 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.


–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report


Filed under: Global Warming • Poll
soundoff (66 Responses)
  1. Steph

    About 28% of Americans believe dinosaurs lived a couple thousand year's ago and were on Noah's Ark. Do you think it is a coincidence that approximately 28% of Americans approved of George W Bush's job performance even while the economy was crumbling around them, e were stuck in two wars and had an out of control national debt? Is it also a coincidence that approximately 28% of Americans think Sarah Palin would make a fabulous president? I think not.

    November 24, 2009 06:39 pm at 6:39 pm |
  2. Dan

    Where is the mention pof the scientist e-mail scandal playing a part in the skepticism? That is the story that should be here instead of the poll.

    November 24, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  3. Wise Latina

    The "Al Gore Global Green Scam" is now finally and fully out in the open for all to see. "Of course Al invests in Green companies – he is merely putting his money where his mouth is!" Given that he fancies himself as a world political and civic leader who is calling on governments and ex-cronies alike with his fraudulent scheme to game the system, we call him a felony conspirator with criminal conflict of interest.

    Arrest this odious thief and put him away forever!

    November 24, 2009 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  4. kman821

    If a majority of Americans are swayed towards any point of view ... I will always question their collective judgement, since it is usually based on a gross ignorance of facts ... regardless of the issue.

    November 24, 2009 06:46 pm at 6:46 pm |
  5. diridi

    if they do not notice the global warming...they are out of mind, are they are very young...never seen any life....or they are just wanting to say to say....that's it....let them go to india....and experience what a warmth is....ok, tell them not to talk rubbish...

    November 24, 2009 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  6. JT the Show Me State College Freshman

    If we harm our enviroment, the home that we all live in, will there be anything left to defend? Regardless of your religous beliefs, if we destroy our earth from our own pollution, we will not have anyone else to blame but ourselves. If we keep this up, it is only a matter of time before we start suffering the fate as so many other species that got put on the endangered list because of us. I am 18 years old, and I don't want to see that in my lifetime. I love my home planet, and all of us should love earth enough to take care of the planet that gave us the chance to breathe clean air and live. That's all I have to say, have a nice day to you folks who continue to do nothing to help the planet of which we stand on. My generation would like to thank you for all that you have done. (sarcasm)

    November 24, 2009 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  7. lila

    America has become the knuckle dragging Nation that is easy to dupe. I'm sure those same bunch of nay sayers would also be doubting that cigarettes cause cancer if the corporations pumped enough money into the campaign of disbelief... Oh, wait.. that already happened.

    November 24, 2009 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  8. RIDOSWORLD

    Why aren't you mentioning leaked emails from these scientists that apparently have covered up and/or deleted data contradicting global warming theory?

    November 24, 2009 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  9. ib

    The truth about this farce is finally coming out. Thank goodness.

    November 24, 2009 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  10. Joe from Quincy

    Maybe we should vote on Global Warming – and if Conservatives win, Mother Nature will stop it because they are the Religious Right.

    What Century are we in?

    November 24, 2009 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  11. Independant Vet

    Worring about Global Warming , Just Grond Obama's Plane one day a week , and park Pelosi's plane permantally. That would save for starters. PLUS , GIVE THAT COST BACK FOR THERE TAX INCREASE. . Most of all keep there mouths shut, an hour a day would also , become a benefit.

    November 24, 2009 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  12. John W. Olver

    Ahh yes, must have a controversy, mustn't we. 72 percent of Americans accept that the climate is changing. 28 percent, mostly Republicans for whom the Boy Scout motto, "Be Prepared", seems to be too complicated for them to understand, think 99+ percent of the world's scientists are somehow totally off base. There is no real story here. A 72 percent majority is a pretty strong statement, but CNN and the rest of the scandal mongers must have controversy. That's what sells papers, gets folks excited, raises the price of advertisement time – and that's why I so seldom pay attention to CNN anymore, Watch the BBC, the Newshour on PBS and read your local paper. The cable channels are all about profit, not about providing information.

    November 24, 2009 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  13. Fitz in Texas

    This ought to make old Al Gore a little nervous. After all his hoax has made him a ton of money.

    November 24, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  14. Albo58

    The first clue that this farce was totally bogus was the full support of that charlatan, Al Gore! Ironically, now the cat is coming out of the bag, this President is too stupid and arrogant to admit that this junk science was just that as he tries his best to bring our sovreignty on a silver platter to those thiefs in Copenhagen!

    November 24, 2009 07:19 pm at 7:19 pm |
  15. Independent Thinker

    If you track the receding of glaciers in Alaska, you will find that they receded SIGNIFICANTLY more in the later part of the last century and the early part of this century than they have in recent years. There is little relationship, if any, between human activity and climate change. Climate changes all the time without any specific cause and effect relationship. We assume that scientists know something when they are only speculating.

    All that said, we do need to take better care of the earth because she is our mother. Use the resources of the earth, but don't abuse them.

    November 24, 2009 07:21 pm at 7:21 pm |
  16. mjm

    In a 1999 e-mail exchange about charts showing climate patterns over the last two millenniums, Phil Jones, a longtime climate researcher at the East Anglia Climate Research Unit, said he had used a “trick” employed by another scientist, Michael Mann, to “hide the decline” in temperatures.....NY Times

    Yeah...why would anyone question Al Gore.

    November 24, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  17. Jim

    Opinions about global warming don't matter. The reality of it is what matters. If its real, we need to deal with it.

    In some ways, the science is simple. Does anyone deny that carbon dioxide and methane are greenhouse gasses? You can replicate this experiment in little glass ball. Add CO2 and Methane and it will get hotter from the same amount of energy. Does anyone dispute that CO2 and methane levels are going up in our atmosphere? This can be measured, it as been measured and it is increasing. The only thing in dispute here is how fast wikll global temperatures go up and what will the consequences be?

    And besides all that, doesn't anyone remember $4.00 per gallon gasoline and the drive for energy independance? The solutions to global warming are also good choices in terms of our economy and our national security. There is no good reason not to act!

    November 24, 2009 07:33 pm at 7:33 pm |
  18. Truth-Bomb Thrower

    Last year the Yukon River in A.laska froze over TWO MONTHS earlier than normal. There was record cold in the midwest and the Great Lakes states. But yet Al Gore continues to rake in millions of dollars every year, playing off of unfounded fears and anti-american sentiment.

    November 24, 2009 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  19. Todd (not the Alaska Separatist)

    So long as Republican States like Texas, Ole' Miss, Alabama, Florida, Georgia, and South and North Carolina continue to take the brunt of super hurricanes fed by warming water temperatures, let's consider this an intelligence test that Republicans continue to fail.

    November 24, 2009 07:42 pm at 7:42 pm |
  20. Adam (From Chicago)

    Al Gore is going to make a KILLING on this.

    So let me get this straight...we are not able to compete with foreign lands on price of goods produced now...we are going to become competitive by placing more fines on the few successful companies we have left?

    Will every nation do this or just the ones that are trillions of dollars in debt with massive trade imbalances?

    November 24, 2009 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  21. hurricane chaser

    I was in Florida recently and the Letters to the Editors of the local papers were filled with various right-wing lunatic ravings against health care interspersed with calls from the same wing-nuts that their own property insurance premiums against hurricanes (amplified by global warming) should be subsidized by the rest of the country.

    November 24, 2009 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  22. Climate Change is Natural

    The sciences of geology and archeology confirm that climate change is a natural and recurring phenomenon. It's a pity that political correctness causes academic scientists to remain silent on what they know is true.

    November 24, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  23. JK in Ashburn

    Remember the doom and gloomers after Hurricane Katrina? "In the future, hurricanes will be more severe and more frequent!" Uh-huh. Only one has come ashore in the US since. This was the lightest hurricane season in recent memory. Probably the same people who predicted global cooling in the 1970s. A bunch of charlatans.

    November 24, 2009 07:51 pm at 7:51 pm |
  24. rightsaid

    Industry money does wonders.

    Wake up people! Science is not your enemy.

    November 24, 2009 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  25. JonDie

    Not surprising. Ignorance and illiteracy (aka "conservatism") are also on the rise.

    November 24, 2009 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
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