December 8, 2011

The Partisan Divide on Global Warming

77 vs. 43

Nearly eight-in-ten (77%) Democrats believe there is solid evidence of global warming compared to 43% of Republicans.

While 63% of Americans overall believe there is solid evidence of global warming, there is a sharp partisan and ideological divide on the issue. Nearly eight-in-ten (77%) Democrats believe that global warming is occurring compared to 43% of Republicans. Just over seven-in-ten (73%) of Democrats who describe themselves as conservative or moderate believe there is solid evidence of warming, as do 84% of liberal Democrats.

Among Republicans, only 31% of conservatives believe in global warming. An intra-party division exists, as 63% of Republicans who describe themselves as moderate or liberal believe in global warming – though but they constitute a smaller share of the party than do conservatives.

The large partisan and ideological gap over the existence of global warming is also reflected in opinions about whether it represents a serious problem. Nine-in-ten (90%) liberal Democrats say global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem, with 64% calling it “very serious.” Nearly three-quarters of conservative Republicans (73%) say global warming either is not too serious a problem or not a problem.

Tea Party affiliation is also a useful prism for understanding Republican divisions on global warming.

Among all Republicans and Republican-leaning independents who agree with the Tea Party, 30% say there is solid evidence of global warming and 11% say it is mostly caused by human activity. A majority (56%) of Republicans and GOP leaners who do not agree with the Tea Party see solid evidence of global warming, and 28% say it is mostly caused by human activity. Read More