December 7th, 2009
04:01 PM ET
9 years ago

CNN Poll: Skepticism on global warming heating up?

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="CNN Poll: Skepticism on global warming heating up?."]
Washington (CNN) - A rise in skepticism among Americans over global warming is mostly due to changes among Republicans, according to new national poll.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey, released Monday, indicates that two-thirds of all Americans believe global warming is a proven fact. That's down eight points since June of 2008, with views among Democrats holding steady while Republicans' belief in global warming dropping 11 points.

Full results (pdf)

"The growing skepticism among Republicans, with no matching shift among Democrats, suggests that the changes measured in this poll may be a reaction to having a Democrat in the White House rather than a shift in underlying attitudes toward global warming," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.

The poll's release come as a United Nations climate summit opened in Copenhagen, Denmark. That global conference began under a cloud of accusations, after international attention the past two weeks over hacked e-mails that suggest some scientists faked data to support the argument of global warming. But Holland notes that polls released last month from other organizations have found similar shifts in views on global warming for several months. He says that indicates the changes in the new CNN survey are not the direct result of the media attention to the leaked e-mails from climate researchers.

iReport: Share your thoughts on climate change.

According to the survey, roughly a third of the people who believe in global warming think it is due to natural causes, rather than manmade causes such as industrial emissions. As a result, the number who say that global warming is caused by humans has dropped from 54 percent last summer to 45 percent now.

The poll indicates the number who say the U.S. should reduce emissions even if other countries do not follow suit has also dropped, from 66 percent in 2007 to 58 percent today.

"That drop is due to roughly equal changes among Republicans and Democrats, suggesting that economic conditions, rather than political factors, may be at play," noted Holland.

Why do a majority support lowering emissions when most Americans no longer think emissions cause global warming? "Americans may have other reasons to support a reduction in carbon dioxide and other gases," Holland says. "Pollution is pollution, and the country has been worried about clean air long before global warming became a topic of discussion."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted December 2-3, with 1,041 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percent for the overall sample.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Global Warming • Popular Posts
soundoff (133 Responses)
  1. commonsenseplease

    Not so fast on Global warming people. Live in Wisconsin just had the 2nd coldest summer EVER on record. Also our winters are now like they were 20 years ago. Anyone who says they know exactly what the climate or mother nature is doing are HIGH!

    Second: I live in Wisconsin and I am PRO Global warming! (trademarked) its suppose to be a high of 5 degress on Wed!. Seriously everyone empty a can of aqua net into the air at least once a day. Leave you cars on idle all night. we thank you in the frozen tundra!

    December 7, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  2. bob knox

    It's not that "we" as conservatives do not believe in global warming, it's that we disagree on the cause. I have a very well written paper from an MIT masters in physics grad that empirically shows the earth travels in a helical pattern around the sun. The author has repeatedly argued his point to college professors, but they are unwilling to rewrite all the physics books. Is he right? I don't know for sure, but it is certainly plausible. In that case the far end of the helix was the Ice Age, and we are now moving towards the center of the helix in which case everything warms up. Everything we know in the universe is three dimensional, so why would planets only move in two? The fact that we are filling the air with CO2 would be rather inconsequential if this turns out to be true. Do I believe we should reduce emissions? Absolutely, but not at a monetary cost none of us can/want to bare.

    December 7, 2009 04:30 pm at 4:30 pm |
  3. Jeff

    This issue is not, does global warming exist, because we have all seen the pictures. The big quesitons is 'WHY" is this happeing. The general hypothesis is that it is man-made, but little fact to go on, since we only have a small snap shot of the earths temperature history. There is also evidence that the moon is slowly moving away from the earth, which will effect the tilt and gravatational pull. That is another hypothesis that needs looked into. Let's make 'Going Green' a health issue and stop trying to attach it to a warming issue. We will all benefit by cutting air, water and food pollution and eliminating as many harmful chemicals as possible. Political chest pouinding and finger pointing will get un nowhere good.

    December 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  4. Motley

    Why is it that when a person is skeptical of something,... it has to be political?

    If I doubt that man made global warming is going on, and believe that solar flares, sun spots, the distance to the sun, the ever moving molten lava making up much of the earth and creating new hot spots, or the hot spots moving, the magnetic field surrounding the Earth shifting as always (the magnetic poles shift people), etc, etc, etc is more of a factor than humans will ever be,.... I am labeled as a Republican and bashed for it,....

    Yeah all of you saying go take a look,... take a look at science, history, physics, etc,.... then try and state that this is a closed case of man made global warming as has been tried to be shoved down our throats for a decade.

    A simple correlation of solar cycles and this now being a very quiet period of the sun and global temps having not increased for a decade, along with the fact most scientists now believe there will be a cooling trend in the pacific northwest and northern pacific ocean is a telling factor right there,...

    December 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  5. F. Nmeribe

    Global warming is part of a natural cycle. I have absolutely no worries. I do however question your statistics about 2/3 believe global warming is for real. You lie.... Anyway, I'm old enough to have seen this hype before. In fact I remember Mt. Pinatubo. Do you remember when that volcano erupted? It was a big one and killed many people. Scientists then said that more carbon emissions were released during those three days of eruptions than all the industrialized world had done in the last 100 years. Mother Earth is in charge not puny man.

    Have no fear. When this current crop of politicians die off so will the hype about global warming.


    December 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  6. Andy

    It simply amazes me that every Leftwing organization on this earth claims global warming is manmade, despite facts to the contrary. Yet the solution is even better. Send Money.

    December 7, 2009 04:31 pm at 4:31 pm |
  7. Lars


    The Vikings called Greenland to trick people into thinking it was green, while calling Iceland it's name to make it scarier.

    Greenland has been under ice for well your referenced time period.

    December 7, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  8. Mike Smith

    They might be misguided, but the opinion of 1/3 of the country matters.

    December 7, 2009 04:32 pm at 4:32 pm |
  9. Steve

    Will the deniers wake up in a few decades and say to themselves " Good god, what have I done to my kids?" when the water's lapping at their doors? Probably not. If your heads in the sand, you're blind.

    December 7, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  10. Frankie

    Global warming (and freezing) is real, and part of the natural cycle of our earth. The summit this month in Copenhagen is a ruse of our president to sign a socialist world treaty sharing the wealth and making us all equal. Amazing the carbon imprint of this summit!!!!
    Thanks CNN, for reporting the facts!

    December 7, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  11. FGD

    If CO2 is reduced too far what will follow is death. Plants whcih make oxygen need a minimum level of CO2 to live, if the levels far too far the plants will die and we will follow suit.
    Man made global warming is a hoax.
    Follow the money to see who is pushing this hoax and what they stand to make.

    December 7, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  12. Douglas chick

    I like how the Earth's climate patterns are driven by popular opinion like reality TV. I wonder if when the 2004 Tsunami was racing towards Thailand, if they polled those people first?

    December 7, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  13. hurricane chaser

    So long as states where dumb-animal republicans continue to take the brunt of climate change induced events like hurricanes, I'm happy to settle into my arm chair and wait for them to come around to reality.

    December 7, 2009 04:33 pm at 4:33 pm |
  14. Andy

    Until a scientist can step up and tell me why sending money to a leftwing organization will stop global warming, I will continue to believe that global warming is a crock.

    December 7, 2009 04:34 pm at 4:34 pm |
  15. Gramsci3000

    Nadai–Ironically, the denial of climate change is a scam for profit. Look at all those interested in denying it.

    December 7, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  16. observer

    Look up how much Al Gore made on spreading the lies.

    Global warming is a phase, it will reach its peak, and you will see global cooling.

    I belief we are already cooling down, evidence is outside of your door.

    I would like to make some money on spreading the word on global cooling. Any takers???? My movie will be called "convenient Bull" And all proceeds will make my life great!!!!!!

    Look up what Al Gore's property looks like, and imagine that carbon footprint.....

    Do your part: Recycle, Turn off lights, do not dump medicine in the toilet ( I know that sounds stupid, look it up), limit fertilizer usage ... etc. , but please stop making lazy morons like Gore rich as hell.

    That makes all of you look dumb.

    December 7, 2009 04:35 pm at 4:35 pm |
  17. greg

    Whether or not you believe the Emails were changed there remains an indisputable fact, Jones admitted he fudged the data, then dumped it, then lied about it, then got caught, then got fired. He admits it, emails or no emails. His reports, along with Mann – who is under investigation, formed the core of the IPCC report. That report initially started with a prediciton of a 7 degree rise in temps, then revised that to be 3 degrees, then most recently came out with the statement – we cannot explain why the globe is cooling, but there's no getting around that it is. If that doesn't convince you then ask yourself, If Al Gore believed in AGW – would he fly around in a private polluting jet or take commercial flights? Would he live in a 22,000 sq foot home or downsize to save the planet? Would the folks in Copenhagen be calling for an immediate reduction in CO2 or would they call for the ability to tax? The ICPP predicted a huge increase in the number and strength of Hurricanes – has that happened? There were only 3 last year, fewer the year before. If the 100 year old Ross Ice shelf broke off – what was there before that? If the glaciers are melting in the North – remember it was once a tropical climate – we know that from the petrified trees and fossils found there. There have been many Ice ages and warm periods in the 4.2 billion year history of Climate Change on this planet – and there will be many more – no matter what we puny humans do. CO2 is plant food, without you would be dead. Period. ANd last of all, chose what you would like live under, a warm sun or a mile thick ice sheet – those are the only choices. Ice ages come about every 11,500 years – so far we've been 11,400 years since the last one.

    December 7, 2009 04:36 pm at 4:36 pm |
  18. Paul from Phoenix

    How many people carpooled to the event in Copenhagen? I bet they all flew seperate private planes. How about the hundred million dollar man Gore, who's electric bill on his pool is higher then most houses annual bill?

    THese guys are opportunist hypocrits.

    December 7, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  19. Danny

    Kurt I have to disagree with you. I believe we landed on the moon, but I am not fully convinced on global warming. Hell it was snowing in Houston last week.

    December 7, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  20. matt

    "The growing skepticism among Republicans, with no matching shift among Democrats, suggests that the changes measured in this poll may be a reaction to having a Democrat in the White House rather than a shift in underlying attitudes toward global warming," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland."

    Now that's wishful thinking if I've ever heard it!

    Being a Democrat without believing in AGW is like being a Catholic without believing in Jesus. It's just not considered acceptable.

    What you're seeing is this: A lot of the people who had kept an open mind about the topic (Republicans and Independents) are now shifting toward skepticism because it's becoming obvious that the so-called "science" has been rigged to produce a pre-defined outcome. that conveniently supports a left-wing political agenda.

    The Democrats haven't changed their views because they're committed believers. They've been told by their leaders that AGW is happening and it's a theory that they desperately WANT to be true, regardless of the facts.

    For them, it's a matter of FAITH, not logic. No amount of reasoning will convince these truth-deniers that they've been duped.

    December 7, 2009 04:37 pm at 4:37 pm |
  21. chris

    global warming is the wool pulled over our eyes, to bilk you and I of our money and gain personal power through legislation and taxation. I laugh and can even forgive the easily ignorant and foolish, but I would like greatly to wring the necks of each and every person who knows the truth yet chooses fraud and treason. You have been warned. The distance now to the gallows grows short.

    December 7, 2009 04:38 pm at 4:38 pm |
  22. Aaron Palmer

    Global warming IS a real occurrence, yet is treated with the same skepticism as when Copernicus stated that the Earth was not the center of the universe. He was locked away by the church when he wouldn't yield his point. Unfortunately, we will lock ourselves away when the water eats away at our land, and there will be NO political viewpoint that will change that.

    December 7, 2009 04:39 pm at 4:39 pm |
  23. Gramsci3000

    Mike Smith–If 1/3 of America said that gravity was on the decline, should we listen to them or care about their opinion? In America, one has the right to be wrong, but the rest of the world shouldn't have to suffer for it.

    December 7, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  24. Clayton

    Check Hubbard Glacier here in Alaska if you want to see on of many that is and has been growing each year. Maybe it is a Republican Glacier.

    December 7, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  25. Dan

    We live on a constantly changing dynamic planet. The Climate is ALWAYS changing...the one thing we are guaranteed is that it is NOT staying the same. The Earth has warmed and cooled since its beginning. If the Earth and Sun are going to burn us off this planet there is nothing we can do to stop it. Furthermore, the few decades for which we have accurate temperature data is woefully insufficient to measure man's impact on climate. The scientific community can not be trusted as evidenced by prominent climate scientists intentionally seeking to hide temperature declines to promote their agenda over the truth. A decade from now there must be a full scale accounting of who promoted and benefited from what will be known as the Great Man-Made Global Warming Hoax.

    December 7, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
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