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. Bill Dusterwald

    Fifty years ago everyone KNEW that the ground didn't move. Today we KNOW that the ground is in motion, plate tectonics. We KNOW that global warming is taking place. Just like it did at least thirty or fifty times in the past. By what science to you come to the conclusion that the Warming is man made????????? In thirty years we may KNOW that Global warming is a precursor to Global Ice Ages. To believe that we know enough to judge what is the source of a spike in a hundred million years of cycles, is the ultimate ego trip.

    December 7, 2009 04:40 pm at 4:40 pm |
  2. r schier norwalk,ct

    One thing is for certain: Anyone posting on this board, that claims to
    know DEFINITIVELY one way or another, regarding the impact or non-impact of human activities on climate change, can immediately be rendered incredible....

    December 7, 2009 04:41 pm at 4:41 pm |
  3. Spence

    Will the climate change maniacs wake up in a few decades and say to themselves " Good god, what have I done to my kids?" when the developed world's economies have collapsed under the weight of harsh regulations designed to slightly diminish a phantom problem? Probably not. If your heads are awash in popular mania, you're totally blinkered.

    December 7, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  4. Chris - Denver

    If the skepticism over the heliocentric model of the solar system were to heat up, would it be appropriate to bring back Ptolemaic astronomy? In scientific matters of controversy, I think it's important to give a little more credence to those who know what they're talking about, and a little less to those with a political axe to grind, or a penury conflict of interest (or both).

    December 7, 2009 04:42 pm at 4:42 pm |
  5. independent

    It has been proven by scholars that most of this hype is crap. And a lot of individuals are buying it. Thank goodness I have a brain to think and read on my own, not just accept what someone else is trying to brainwash us with.

    December 7, 2009 04:43 pm at 4:43 pm |
  6. Motley

    Funny how people call us "deniers" and "blind" if we don't "believe" in man made global warming,...

    Same tactics are used if you say you don't believe in God,...

    Sorry but just because I like to have evidence and science prove things instead of using faith for the basis of the "facts" in my life,... doesn't mean I am wrong and the "believers" are right,...

    December 7, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |

    Regardless if you believe global warming is man made or not, we need to get off oil based energy for economic reasons, political reasons, and pollution reasons. You don't have to always believe what Glenn Beck and Hannity have to say.

    December 7, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  8. Tim

    Global warming is 10% science and 90% politics!

    December 7, 2009 04:44 pm at 4:44 pm |
  9. Jim

    So the comments say that Global Warming is a money making scheme? Has anyone looked at the opponents? Lets see: Big oil, manufacturing, big buisness? Now, who is looking to make money?

    Also, comments like its snowing in Houston, or its cold here, are missing the point. Global Warming is the ice caps melting because the CO2 level is too high. That is still happening. The earth is warmer today than it was 100 yrs ago, and 200 yrs ago, etc,

    Is it man made, probably at least somewhat. Whether it is or not, don't we have a responsibility to leave our children a better place than what we have?

    December 7, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  10. mr. lexus

    Quick and simple answer. Quit blowing huge holes in the ozone with rockets and space shuttles. Problem solved and the ozone will at some point heal.

    December 7, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  11. Steve (the real one)

    Consider this:
    The earth experienced an ice age. Science will tell us that it is fact. Yet how many humans, factories, planes, and cars caused the climate change to move the earth out of the ice age? NOT A ONE! Folks are getting filthy rich off a theory! Parts of this country just experienced the earliest snows EVER! Gobal warming or climate change, right? The open-mined left is being anything but, especially when they disregard solar activity as a cause of cyclical changes in climate! The problem is there is too much money involved in this junk science. Just ask Al Gore!

    December 7, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  12. Grrr-awful-o

    This is an excellent study in why science must be an agnostic discipline. Once you start introducing your own biases into your research you are bound to go from science to junk science – even if that wasn't your intention. This has happened again and again in the history of scientific research. Now who will ever believe any research from the climate research group that withheld their own inconvenient truths? Credibility is history for them... and possibly for this entire thesis. There's is not the only "research" with inaccuracies throughout. Al Gore's Inconvenient Truth is full of it – as is stated in another article on the CNN site. Science: let that be a lesson to you (one you used to teach to me).

    December 7, 2009 04:45 pm at 4:45 pm |
  13. John

    I remain skeptical on the data around Global warming due to its politicization. No dount Global warming has occured but I do not totally believe to the degree that has been stated. Take politics and the crazy environmentalists out of the mix and let unbiased scientists without ulterier motives come to conclusions whatever they may be. I am a Democrat so this cannot be a total GOP thing.

    December 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  14. Analyst

    Without the global warming hoax, where would all these faux scientist derive their income from? They would actually have to go out in the world and get real jobs instead of studying ice and munipulating data. These supposed scientist destroyed all the raw data from which their claims are based.. why on earth would they do such a thing if they were conspiring to produce a myth?

    December 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  15. Jimmy T in Portland OR

    Wow, if ignorance is bliss than there are some really happy people writing on this board! Why can republicans never admit to guilt? "Oh no, we had nothing to do with global warming it was the liberals hot air." Reducing carbon emissions is not a bad thing and I don't care who is to blame but for goodness sake lets not sit and argue instead of taking action.

    December 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  16. Gene Brady

    An ignored fact: Bush/Cheney tried very hard to turn the USA into China by eroding rights, environmental protections, the Supreme Court Nominees etc. and the rest of the WORLD is putting pressure on guess who? The USA and CHINA.... A natural coincidence? I think not. High priced Public Relations is more the truth...

    December 7, 2009 04:46 pm at 4:46 pm |
  17. Puzzled by Duplicitousness

    What is the Carbon Footprint of this meeting in Copenhagen????

    December 7, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  18. Robin

    Dear AP from Illinois,

    Al Gore's movie was called, "An Inconvenient Truth."

    December 7, 2009 04:47 pm at 4:47 pm |
  19. Brandon K

    First off, I like the fact that the postings above are intelligent and well thought, far from the usual rants I see related to this topic.

    I don't see this as republican or democrat. There are plenty of democrats living in coal-power country who want this to go away as bad as any republican. The climate naysayers simply have a belief system of not wasting trillions in the name of "doing something."

    I am in that camp. I have no doubt that the earth is heating up. The question that remains is there anything we can do about it, particularly with today's technology? The answer is emphatically "no". (Storing carbon underground? Sure – when Buck Rogers wakes up in the 25th century.)

    Just like when a house is on fire, people run around wanting to do something to help the situation. Just as a bucket of water won't have an impact on a burning house, returning emissions to some level below Kyoto won't matter. So if catastrophe waits in 2050, it will still come, regardless of what is actually done in the next 10-20 years.

    So what do we do? Continue to rearrange the deck chairs whilst the Titanic is sinking? No. However, employing a massive wealth re-distribution scheme in the name of saving the planet will make our time on this planet far less enjoyable in the meantime.

    I think we should continue to develop the science behind climate change and make the right investments to deal with increased drought and the impact on food production. We know changes are coming in the long term, just as they have for millions of years. But we can do some things now that won't kill the economy and help the most vulnerable.

    December 7, 2009 04:48 pm at 4:48 pm |
  20. truth

    Global warming is a proven HOAX. You liberal apologists need to open your eyes and starting thinking on your own for once. This whole warming debate is one of the most frightening things I've ever witnessed.

    December 7, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  21. Randolph Carter, I'm no expert but...

    And yet, the Pentagon is adjusting its long-term strategies to take an ice free arctic passage into account. Maybe they know something we don't. Hmmm.... never mind, just go on believing that cavemen riding dinosaurs missed a ride on Noah's ark. Have a nice day!

    December 7, 2009 04:49 pm at 4:49 pm |
  22. No To Socialism

    Does Global Warming Exitst, Well of course over the last 100 years, but no one tracked it before that. Also, the late 1700s early 1800s was considered a mini ice age. So it is a big deal we are 1 degree warmer, when in the last 10 it has stabilized. Does man play a role, it is likely, but I think it is more likely that it is so minute it doesn't make a real difference. Clean air is a good thing, but to say we need 0% emissions regardless of the cost is crazy.

    The green movement is really a political movement by the far left to contral are daily lives, aka Socialism. This system clearly doesn't work, so look at the facts. Greenhouse emission is down 2.2% this year without their radical policies. Let Capitalism work and the Constitution be honored.

    December 7, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  23. Sandy Raymond

    May the skeptics and naysayers be the first to disappear from the face of the earth in a puff of their own noxious fumes.

    It goes without saying they will all be affluent Republicans.

    December 7, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  24. Stephen S

    There are 31,000 scientists that dispute global warming, 926 with PhD's. The academic elites cannot claim, like some have, that skeptics don't understand science. Maybe we just aren't as dumb as you play us off to be. Anyone with any intellectual integrity would not go forth with this conference and the EPA would not have made their political decision today – in light of the recent climategate scandal. CRU scientists conveniently blotted out the medieval warming period they had included up until 1996.

    December 7, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
  25. chris

    Climate change or climate scam? If it involves taking other peoples money and telling us how to act and live. IT IS A NO-BRAINER! You have to be an absolute buffoon to believe this non-sense.

    December 7, 2009 04:50 pm at 4:50 pm |
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