Nearly Half Of Americans Have Little or No Concern About Climate Change

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UTICA, N.Y. – With the United Nations climate change summit in Copenhagen in its final week, nearly half of Americans — 49% — say they are only slightly or not at all concerned about climate change, while 35% are somewhat or highly concerned, a new Zogby Interactive survey shows.

Zogby’s latest polling shows an increase in those who hold this view compared with 2007, when 39% said they were slightly or not at all concerned about climate change and 48% said they were somewhat or highly concerned.

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Intensity of concern about global climate change has shifted over the past three years in favor of those who are not at all concerned – 27% held this view in 2007, compared to 37% who say the same now. Fewer now say they are highly concerned – 20% today compared to 30% in 2007. This latest survey shows more than two-thirds of Republicans (68%) and 46% of political independents say they are “not at all concerned” about global climate change and global warming, compared to just 7% of Democrats.

Thirty-eight percent of Democrats are highly concerned, compared to 4% of Republicans and 14% or independents.

Most don’t want U.S. government to reduce energy use if it requires major lifestyle changes

When it comes to the personal changes that may be required as part of a national plan of action to address climate change, less than half (44%) believe the U.S. government should act to reduce energy use in the U.S. even if that means significant personal lifestyle changes. Nearly twice as many (41%) strongly disagree with government action aimed and energy reduction that would require major lifestyle changes, than strongly agree (19%).

Seventy-five percent of Democrats somewhat or strongly agree with government action to cut energy use in the U.S., compared to 74% of Republicans who strongly disagree. Those from least wealthy households (less than $25,000 per year) are most likely to agree with the U.S. government trying to reduce energy use despite how it could impact their personal lifestyles – 62% agree, compared to 35% of those with $75,000 to $100,000 in household income. Half of Americans (50%) agree that solving global climate change will require considerable economic sacrifice on the part of the United States – 44% disagree that this will be required.

Other findings from the survey include:
• Most believe there is at least some connection between human behavior and global climate change – 38% believe there is a strong connection, while 30% say there is some connection but no significant impact. Another 26% believe there is no connection between human action and global climate change. Seventy-one percent of Democrats believe there is a strong connection, compared to just 9% of Republicans.

• Fifty percent believe global climate change and global warming is a legitimate problem, while 47% believe it is not a problem. Nearly two-thirds (64%) of First GlobalsTM, those age 18-30, view global climate change as a legitimate problem, while fewer than half of older generations say the same. More than half (54%) of these young Americans strongly agree it is a legitimate problem.

• Forty-seven percent believe the U.S. government is doing enough to prevent global climate change, but nearly as many (43%) don’t believe enough is being done.

• Most likely voters (50%) believe the U.S. should work with other groups such as the U.N. or European Union to address global climate change. Forty-eight percent disagree, with 40% who say they strongly disagree.

• Sixty-two percent give Obama negative marks for his handling of energy issues – including 47% who give him a “poor” rating. Just 34% give Obama positive marks for his performance handling energy issues. Sixty-seven percent of Democrats give Obama an “excellent” or “good” rating for handing energy issues, compared to 83% of Republicans and 55% of independents who give him a “poor” rating.

This interactive survey of 3,072 adults nationwide was conducted Dec. 8-10, 2009.  A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of adult Americans, was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 1.8 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.

The 2007 interactive survey of 8,300 adults nationwide was conducted June 15-18, 2007. A sampling of Zogby International’s online panel, which is representative of adult Americans, was invited to participate. Slight weights were added to region, party, age, race, religion, gender, education to more accurately reflect the population. The margin of error is +/- 1.1 percentage points. Margins of error are higher in sub-groups.


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