A new Pew poll on climate change

05.16.2018

Figure from the Pew Research Center report"About half of Americans say the Earth is warming mostly due to human activity," according (PDF) to a new report from the Pew Research Center.

Asked, "Which of these three statements about the Earth's temperature comes closest to your view?" 53% of respondents preferred or leaned toward "The Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels," 29% preferred or leaned toward "The Earth is getting warmer mostly because of natural patterns in the Earth's environment," and 17% preferred or leaned toward "There is no solid evidence that the Earth is getting warmer." The results are similar to those from a 2016 Pew Research Center survey.

"There are wide differences in beliefs about climate change by politics," the report observed, continuing, "About eight-in-ten liberal Democrats (83%) say the Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity. In contrast, 18% of conservative Republicans say this, a difference of 65 percentage points. Some 46% of conservative Republicans say the Earth is getting warmer mostly because of natural patterns and 36% say there is no solid evidence of warming." These differences have been shown in previous surveys.

Asked, "From what you have heard or read, which of these three statements about the Earth's temperature comes closest to WHAT MOST CLIMATE SCIENTISTS SAY?" (emphasis in original), 66% of respondents preferred or leaned toward "The Earth is getting warmer mostly because of human activity such as burning fossil fuels," 17% preferred or leaned toward "The Earth is getting warmer mostly because of natural patterns in the Earth's environment," and 16% preferred or leaned toward "There is no solid evidence that the Earth is getting warmer."

Here, too, there was a similar political split. While 88% of liberal Democrats and 69% of moderate/conservative Democrats responding agreed that most climate scientists attribute global warming to human activity, only 57% of moderate/liberal Republicans and 40% of conservative Republicans responding agreed. (Most climate scientists indeed attribute global warming to human activity: multiple surveys show that the level of consensus among climate scientists is upward of 97%.)

The survey was conducted March 27-April 9, 2018, among 2541 respondents in a nationally representative panel. The margin of sampling error for the full sample was +/- 2.7%.