Majority now fear global warming

U.S. worry about global warming is heading back up after several years of expanded public skepticism, reports polling from the Gallup Organization Views on the subject are now near the midpoint in Gallup trends, exemplified by the 58% of Americans who say they worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming. This is up from 51% in 2011 but still below the 62% to 72% levels seen in earlier years.

More specifically, 33% of Americans worry about global warming “a great deal,” 25% worry “a fair amount,” 20% “only a little,” and 23% “not at all.” Full trends are available in the Survey Methods section.

Public concern about global warming has waxed and waned over the past two decades, ranging between 50% and 72%. The average percentage over time for “worrying a great deal/fair amount” comes in at just under 60%, similar to the March 7-10 reading from Gallup’s 2013 Environment poll.images-1

The same poll finds 54% of Americans saying the effects of global warming have already begun. This also matches the average in Gallup trends on this measure since 1997. The low points were recorded in 1997 and 2011, when less than half thought global warming’s effects were already manifest. The high point was recorded in 2008, at 61%. This year’s percentage represents a slight increase from the lows reached just a couple of years ago.

Americans continue to be less likely than in the recent past to believe news about global warming is generally exaggerated, with 41% saying so this year — down from 48% in 2010, the all-time high. However, it remains above the long-term average of 36%.

The majority of Americans continue to believe news on the subject is either generally correct (24%) or underestimates the seriousness of the issue (33%).


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