November 24th, 2009
06:05 PM ET
4 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. B

    I am not surprised, most people in this country will not believe anything until they are directly affected.

    Sad commentary for this world.. Ignorance and Greed will win in the end.

    November 24, 2009 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  2. MikeH

    The result of having too much religion influence thinking, coupled with polluting industries dumping millions into disinformation campaigns to preserve their filthy-pig profit margins.

    Big Coal would kill Americans wholesale for profit if they could get away with it.

    In the end we will suffer because Nature cannot be fooled. I hope all the fatcats who profited by screwing up the climate are all caught and rendered for biodiesel.

    November 24, 2009 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  3. joel

    Scientists have explained everything that we know, from our solar system, the universe, and our own origins, some people may not believe in global warming because "it sure is hot out today" but I will continue to side with the intelligent side of the human race.

    November 24, 2009 08:12 pm at 8:12 pm |
  4. Vermonter

    I went out without a coat in late November in Northern Vermont. Nah, there's no global warming.

    November 24, 2009 08:18 pm at 8:18 pm |
  5. obongorulz

    this is the biggest political joke the WORLD has ever seen.....

    OHHHH...sorry, BHO is the biggest joke the world has seen and we're going down in flames for his stupidity.

    November 24, 2009 08:19 pm at 8:19 pm |
  6. Tired of the conservative BS

    According to the poll, that means that only 46% of the Refuseniks are brain dead. That figure sounds about 20% to 30% too low.

    November 24, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  7. Right Leaning Independent

    The average temperature is down for 2009 where I live and some people say it is a result of global warming – Go figure!!

    November 24, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  8. dave

    As it should be. I do not doubt that human civilization has had an effect on the environment but the degree to which we are changing global climate is highly inflated by people using the issue as a political tool. We should be worrying about protecting the environment but we should not be allowing people like Al Gore to profit from things like Carbon credits. When it comes down to it, there simply isn't enough data to make any determination about what climate is doing in the long term. We've only been collecting data on world climate for maybe 100 years; a moment in geological terms. And frankly, any variety of natural events could do inconceivably more damage then anything we could muster. There's nothing wrong with trying to be more eco-friendly but lets have the truth not dogma.

    November 24, 2009 08:21 pm at 8:21 pm |
  9. DAVE

    how much more evidence is it going to take for Americans and all the whack job tree huggers to wake up and face the facts that man is not causing global warming...... the earth is going through its natural cycle.... let me say this again-- THE EARTH IS GOING THROUGH ITS NATURAL CYCLE!!!!!!!!!!! we are not going to use this movement to bring down our Capitalistic system to appease the world or crack nuts who think the sky will fall if we don't.... Al Gore is a lying hypocrite who lost his golden ticket to Billions with the release of emails that confirm the scientific community who are falsifying data to make things worse than they are..... bye bye CAP AND TAX......

    November 24, 2009 08:25 pm at 8:25 pm |
  10. Annie, Atlanta

    I'm not sure we should be willing to take the chance. The skepticism came from some hacked e-mails. But no where in those e-mails did it say they were trying to pull the wool over our eyes by readjusting the information. Let's not jump to conclusions based on which propaganda master we're listening to. Let's get the facts right on this. Our lives depend on it.

    November 24, 2009 08:30 pm at 8:30 pm |
  11. Bruce

    Keeping in mind that the 'attention span' of the average American is 20 seconds, when 'it' hits the fan, it's too late. Scream all you want... when and IF you EVER wake up! So, I take two, ten day cruises a year in a delux veranda suite, munching on Osetra Russian (malossol) caviar and sipping champagne, watching PhD's pushing a broom, as it were... the same folk who looked down their nose at me, before I retired at AGE 53! Living well, or at least better, is, indeed, the best revenge. Now, DO carry on making a mudpie out of the planet. Since I'm not on payroll anymore, stew in your own swill. (Now, how does it feel to have YOUR nose rubbed in 'it'?)

    November 24, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  12. Dennis

    Climate change is always happening. The climate isn't static and change is natural. We are now going through a period of cooling in much of the world. The preceding decade saw some warming. Limiting CO2 emissions to try to halt natural climate change would be an economic disaster. The idea that human activity significantly impacts global temperatures is absurd.

    November 24, 2009 08:31 pm at 8:31 pm |
  13. Keith in Austin

    Al Gore has made a fortune on his bogus threats of global warming. Others like him (typical Liberals) are now hysterically frightened that they're exposed. This is yet another example of how the lies and efforts of the Left continue to hoodwink the American people. Todays revelation will throw a big monkey wrench into Obozo's Cap and Trade bill. The next big-government tax and spend nightmare coming from the Democrats!

    November 24, 2009 08:36 pm at 8:36 pm |
  14. Daniel

    It's clear that the facts are getting out and educated people realize that it's pure hubris to think humanity can impact the climate. Simple things like the fact that Mecury, Venus adn Mars are warming due to the Sun's output but here on Earth it's because Al Gore says it is. Wake up and remove the politics – focus on the science and prepare for warmer planet. After all, we are in one of the coolest era's of our planet's history outside of the Ice Ages.

    November 24, 2009 08:40 pm at 8:40 pm |
  15. Willy Brown

    It's the great Owl Gore hoax. He's getting rich off you fools.

    November 24, 2009 08:41 pm at 8:41 pm |
  16. ThinkAgain

    Here's a quick litmus test about global warming:

    Who has the most to gain by embracing the concept of global warming and doing something about it? Everyone in the world (because we all have to live on this planet).

    Who has the most to gain by denying it? The fossil fuel companies who would lose money and every other company who would have to spend money to go green.

    Money is a very motivating factor when it comes to human behavior. So simple analysis says that the folks who would lose or have to part with money are the biggest losers here and the ones who are the biggest deniers of global warming.

    November 24, 2009 08:42 pm at 8:42 pm |
  17. Right wingnuts are the darlings of dementia

    Hannity said Earth is cooling, so that's that.

    November 24, 2009 08:45 pm at 8:45 pm |
  18. stu

    The earth has been warming up since the end of the last ice age and this is part of a natural cycle. The problem is that human activity has accelerated the cycle well beyond what the earth can cope with. The earth will continue to warm, ice will melt, oceans will rise, and weather patterns will change.

    November 24, 2009 08:53 pm at 8:53 pm |
  19. Scott, Tucson

    And considering that the pro-global warming nuts are cooking the research numbers doesn't help either. Al Gore might do well to sell off any stock in the climate change industry.

    November 24, 2009 08:54 pm at 8:54 pm |
  20. Steve, New York City

    Truly amazing – some people think that a politician has more credibility on global warming than a climatologist? Is this for real? My goodness – our education system must be in pretty disasterous shape.

    November 24, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  21. john harrison

    of course, global warming is happening, just ask those scientists who make a living out of hyping it and quashing any one who thinks differently.

    November 24, 2009 08:59 pm at 8:59 pm |
  22. Marie Laveaux

    They also believe that the earth is flat, was made in seven days, and that the moon is made of green cheese. Go figure!

    November 24, 2009 09:03 pm at 9:03 pm |
  23. Bob

    The globe has been cooling for 10 straight years. There is zero science to back up any claim that the globe is warming.

    November 24, 2009 09:11 pm at 9:11 pm |
  24. patrick88

    global warming is al gores cash cow theres no such thing.there are warming trends and cooling trends this summer was the coolest on record in twenty years on the east coast!

    November 24, 2009 09:12 pm at 9:12 pm |
  25. independent

    Tell the islanders around the world having to leave their homelands that you are skeptical about rising sea levels.

    November 24, 2009 09:21 pm at 9:21 pm |
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