This article appeared in the latest Scientific American. The full text and graphics can be found here.
On Climate, the People Agree.
US public opinion varies over a surprisingly narrow range
From what politicians and commentators say in the media, the U.S. would seem torn asunder over the matter of climate change. Not so, according to an assessment of 21 surveys encompassing almost 20,000 people in 46 states, which found ample agreement about global warming and what to do about it. In each state, a majority of those polled believe that temperatures are rising and that human actions are part of the cause —and this consensus holds for residents of states that voted strongly Republican in the 2012 presidential election. More than 60 percent of Americans in every state favor government-imposed limits on greenhouse gas emissions from businesses and power plants. “A huge percentage of the public supports legislation that politicians have yet to pass,” says Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at Stanford University who led the analysis.
People also agree on another point: fewer than half the residents in states nationwide indicate that global warming is “extremely important” to them personally.