Oct 6, 2017

Growing majority believes global warming is happening

Ben Geman, author of Generate

New polling shows that three quarters of the public believes global temperatures have been rising in recent decades, including a growing share of Republicans, but a wide partisan gap on climate change persists.

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Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon / Axios

Why it matters: The new Pew Research Center data offers a snapshot of Americans' views at a time when the White House is moving aggressively to dismantle Obama-era climate change policies.

A few takeaways from the big Pew poll conducted over the summer and released Thursday . . .

  • Increasing belief: The 74% who agree there is "solid evidence" of warming is the highest level in Pew's polling since 2007, and well above the 61 percent share in their early 2014 poll.
  • Big party split remains: The new poll shows that 92 percent of Democrats say Earth's average temperatures have climbed in recent decades, compared to 52 percent of GOP respondents.
  • Upward GOP trend: The 52 percent of Republicans who believe there is solid evidence of warming is above the 39 percent in 2014, but remains below where it was a decade ago.

Yes, but: The same poll shows that when asked about environmental regulations (though not climate rules specifically), 36 percent of Republicans said stricter regulations are worth the cost, well below the 58 percent who agreed with that view a decade ago.

Reality check: On climate, the data shows that most Republicans polled remain out of step with the overwhelming view among scientists that human activities, like burning fossil fuels and deforestation, have been the primary cause of warming since the mid-20th century.

Pew found that 24 percent of Republicans polled believe both that there's global warming and that it's caused mostly by humans, while in contrast nearly eight in 10 Democrats agree on the human influence.

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