It’s April 22, so happy Earth Day everybody. Yes, it’s also Vladimir Lenin’s birthday, so for many on the left this actually presents little cause for confusion.
The Gallup Poll reports today on the latest survey results on public attitudes about global warming climate change, which shows that while the number of true believers has barely changed since 2001, the number of people who are deeply skeptical has roughly doubled, while the number of people in the middle (Gallup calls them the “mixed middle”) has fallen by one-quarter. This means that all of the people who have shifted out of the “mixed middle” have gone over to skepticism, and none to the Al Gore camp.
Does it make a difference whether you call the phenomenon “global warming” or “climate change”? Riley Dunlap writes separately for Gallup that it really doesn’t make much difference:
In this year’s Environment poll, Gallup included both “global warming” and “climate change” in a list of eight environmental problems, and asked respondents the degree to which they personally worry about each. Seven problems, including all items except climate change, were presented to respondents in random order, while climate change was presented last. Presenting it this way maintained the standard rotational environment for the global warming item and preserved the context for its long-term trend, while achieving moderate spacing between global warming and climate change when items are read to most respondents.
The results suggest that the public responds to global warming and climate change in a similar fashion.
Gallup used to call it the “greenhouse effect” in earlier polls, but probably dropped that term because of confusion with a certain dreadful New York Times Supreme Court reporter. In any case, if you string together the older Gallup data you can see that while there have been a couple of spikes of concern, the proportion of the public deeply concerned about the issue is unchanged from 1990:
So much for “framing.”
Finally, Gallup’s general environmental survey, conducted in March each year, finds once again that Americans rank global warming dead last on their list of environmental concerns. Moreover, public concern about the environment is at a 15-year low: