Global Warming Debate Benefits Perry

Published August 24, 2011

Public opinion polls show a minority of Americans believe humans are causing a serious and imminent global warming threat. Republicans and independents are very dubious of alarmist global warming claims, and even Democrats are essentially split on the topic. That being the case, it is curious that the media is playing up global warming topic as a potential credibility issue for presumed GOP frontrunner Rick Perry.

ABC News, for example, has published an article playing up the global warming alarmism of marginal candidate Jon Huntsman and comparing Huntsman’s views with those of front-runner Rick Perry. Forgetting for the moment that Huntsman would run to the left of many candidates in a Democrat (let alone Republican) primary, if the media attempts to make global warming a political litmus test in the upcoming elections, Rick Perry and other global warming realists can only benefit from the discussion.

Last month a Harris poll reported the percentage of people saying humans are causing global warming has reached a record low. Only 44 percent of Americans say they believe carbon dioxide emissions are warming the Earth, down from 51 percent in 2009 and 71 percent in 2007.

Similarly, a Pew Research Center poll last fall reported only 34 percent of Americans believe humans are the primary driver of recent global warming, and only 32 percent of Americans believe global warming is a very serious problem. Less than half of Americans believe that global warming is a problem requiring immediate government action, according to Pew.

It certainly serves the Obama administration well to have the media taking focus off the historically ill-performing economy, but shifting that focus to the global warming debate will merely help the political fortunes of global warming realists like Rick Perry.