The number of conservative voters who believe in climate change has almost doubled in the past two years, according to a new poll that attributes the rise in part to a lessening hostility toward the issue by Republican leaders.
(From Scientific American / by Evan Lehmann)– Forty-seven percent of conservatives now say the climate is changing, a leap of 19 points since the midterm elections of 2014, according to the survey released yesterday by Yale and George Mason universities. The poll did not ask respondents whether climate change is caused by people.
The jump accounts for the single biggest change among all voting groups, and it could symbolize a softening among conservatives on an issue that has sharply divided the political parties, according to Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
A number of things might have affected people’s attitudes, including Pope Francis’ encyclical calling for climate action, a record-warm winter and media coverage around the international agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to the report.
Leiserowitz also attributes the rise in conservative belief to a reduction of attacks against climate science and policy in Congress and on the campaign trail.
“In this presidential race, climate change hasn’t come up on the Republican side at all,” he said. “It means that none of the political discourse, the discussion among the Republican Party right now, is addressing climate change at all. That’s actually an improvement in the discourse.”
That might have dulled the partisanship around global warming, he suggests, and made it easier for some conservatives to shift their views “because they’re not hearing a constant barrage of ‘This is a liberal hoax.’”
Read the full article here: http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/many-more-republicans-now-believe-in-climate-change/