Americans' views on global warming, by party and ideology, April 2015. While notable majorities of all other political party/ideology groups say the effects of global warming will happen within their lifetime, fewer than four in 10 conservative Republicans (37 percent) agree, a sign of that political identity's strident skepticism on this issue. 40 percent of conservative Republicans say global warming will never happen. Graphic: Gallup

By Andrew Dugan
22 April 2015

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Gallup) – While notable majorities of all other political party/ideology groups say the effects of global warming will happen within their lifetime, fewer than four in 10 conservative Republicans (37%) agree, a sign of that political identity's strident skepticism on this issue.

Conservative Republicans not only decisively reject the notion that the effects of global warming will happen in this lifetime -- a position in sharp contrast to all other political identities -- but another 40% say global warming will never happen. This is significantly higher than the percentages of moderate/liberal Republicans (16%), non-leaning independents (14%), conservative/moderate Democrats (5%) and liberal Democrats (3%) who say the same.

These results are based on an aggregate of more than 6,000 interviews conducted as part of Gallup's annual Environment poll each March from 2010 to 2015. Both party affiliation and ideological association are self-reported. The party definitions take into account both respondents' initial party preference -- as Democratic, Republican or independent -- and independents' leanings toward either party, which are ascertained in a follow-up question. Therefore, the group of "Republicans" reported here includes Republican identifiers and Republican-leaning independents. "Democrats" includes Democratic identifiers and Democratic-leaning independents, and "non-leaning independents" are the residual independents who do not lean toward either major party.

Global warming views are marked by a large partisan gap; Republicans typically treat the concept and consequences of global warming with a heavy dose of skepticism, while Democrats usually express concern about global warming's impact on the environment. To a lesser but still significant extent, Americans describing their political ideology as "conservative" -- regardless of party affiliation -- tend to cast doubt on global warming and its effects, while ideological moderates and especially liberals are more apt to see the matter as a serious challenge for society.

It is at the intersection of these two key components of one's political identity -- party affiliation and ideology -- where the sharpest fissures in this debate occur. Gallup has fielded a set of questions designed to measure the public's understanding, skepticism and concern about global warming, and reviewing these data by political identity reveals that for some questions a particular political identity -- in this instance, conservative Republicans -- is driving the disagreement rather than the entire political party. [more]

Conservative Republicans Alone on Global Warming's Timing

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