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The political divide over climate science

Despite the solid scientific consensus that human activity is driving climate change, acknowledgement of that across the political spectrum has remained largely unchanged for two decades.

Reproduced from Climate Change in the American Mind survey conducted by Yale and George Mason Universities; Chart: Axios Visuals

Between the lines: President Trump and his supporters have expressed doubt in climate science findings, which may be influencing the opinions of conservative Republicans. However, when you combine Democrats with moderate Republicans, a majority of the American public agrees with the evidence.

  • The backstory: Tony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, noted that the percentage of Republicans who believe that climate change is happening peaked during John McCain's presidential campaign in 2008 and then dropped 14% by 2010. He described McCain as a "climate champion."

The bottom line, per Gallup editor-in-chief Frank Newport: "We're not scientists, and most of us are not prepared to pore through the complex literature and arrive at conclusions. So you look to thought leaders or media personalities."

Go deeper: Read the rest of Axios' Deep Dive on climate change.