WASHINGTON (AP) - Nearly 4 out of 5 Americans now think temperatures are rising and that global warming will be a serious problem for the United States if nothing is done about it, a new Associated Press-GfK poll finds.
Belief and worry about climate change
are inching up among Americans in general, but concern is growing
faster among people who don't often trust scientists on the environment.
In follow-up interviews, some of those doubters said they believe their
own eyes as they've watched thermometers rise, New York City subway
tunnels flood, polar ice melt and Midwestern farm fields dry up.
Overall, 78 percent of those
surveyed said they thought temperatures were rising and 80 percent
called it a serious problem. That's up slightly from 2009, when 75
percent thought global warming was occurring and just 73 percent thought
it was a serious problem. In general, U.S. belief in global warming,
according to AP-GfK and other polls, has fluctuated over the years but
has stayed between about 70 and 85 percent.
The biggest change in the polling
is among people who trust scientists only a little or not at all. About
1 in 3 of the people surveyed fell into that category.
Within that highly skeptical
group, 61 percent now say temperatures have been rising over the past
100 years. That's a substantial increase from 2009, when the AP-GfK poll
found that only 47 percent of those with little or no trust in
scientists believed the world was getting warmer.
This is an important development
because, often in the past, opinion about climate change doesn't move
much in core groups — like those who deny it exists and those who firmly
believe it's an alarming problem, said Jon Krosnick,
a Stanford University social psychologist and pollster. Krosnick, who
consulted with The Associated Press on the poll questions, said the
changes the poll shows aren't in the hard-core "anti-warming" deniers,
but in the next group, who had serious doubts.
Friday, December 6 2013 2:18 PM EST2013-12-06 19:18:21 GMT
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