Polls: Voters Skeptical of Global Warming Claims, Bills

Published July 1, 2009

According to a new Rasmussen Poll, Americans increasingly reject the notion that humans are the primary driver of recent temperature change.

Just 39 percent of American voters believe global warming is caused by human activity. By comparison, 44 percent of Americans attribute global warming to long-term planetary trends.

Alarmists Losing Support

Just one year ago the numbers were reversed, with 47 percent attributing recent warming to human causes and just 34 percent holding planetary trends responsible.

The current poll, released in May, shows only 42 percent of voters believe Americans should make major changes in their lifestyles to save the environment. Also, 62 percent of Americans believe finding new sources of energy is more important than reducing the amount of energy Americans are consuming now.

Only 44 percent of voters see a conflict between economic growth and environmental protection.

False Scares Doom Credibility

Jay Lehr, science director for The Heartland Institute, is not at all surprised by the public’s growing skepticism regarding global warming claims.

“For quite some time now alarmists have stretched the truth, raised false alarms, and told outright lies in order to scare the public into accepting a major restructuring of our economy and our way of life. Unfortunately for the alarmists, you can claim the sky is falling only so many times before people begin to completely reject everything you have to say,” said Lehr.

“Science has demonstrated that the Gulf Stream is not shutting down, temperatures at Mt. Kilimanjaro are not rising, the Antarctic ice cap is growing instead of shrinking, there is no increase in hurricane frequency, drought is becoming less prevalent, and polar bear numbers are rising instead of falling,” Lehr added. “It is no wonder the public now takes everything the alarmists say with a grain of salt.”

Most Oppose Cap-and-Trade

Another poll, conducted by CNN Opinion Research in April, found a majority of U.S. voters oppose cap-and-trade legislation. According to CNN, 51 percent of voters oppose it, versus 44 percent who favor such legislation.

“The majority of the Republican caucus doesn’t support the climate policies that are being pushed by the Democratic leadership in Washington,” noted Sterling Burnett, a senior fellow at the National Center for Public Policy Analysis. “There are also a number of Democratic congressmen who don’t support these policies. The question is, are there enough Blue Dog Democrats to derail the others?

“There are certainly some Democrats that are going to be against this, but it is unclear to me if they are against it because of polling data or because they realize just how bad it’s going to be for their constituents,” said Burnett.

“Taken together, these polls should alert legislators that they support global warming legislation at the peril of their own jobs,” said Lehr.

Alyssa Carducci ([email protected]) writes from Tampa, Florida.