The New York Times, Resources for the Future and Stanford University polled more than 1,000 American adults from Jan. 7 to 22 about issues pertaining to climate change and survey results showed that majority recognize global warming as real and that they would want their government to acknowledge the same so efforts to curb climate change can be enforced.
However, most Americans believe that global warming is more of a future threat. It is not the most pressing concern right now for many, with 44 percent of respondents saying global warming has not affected them personally. Respondents were more concerned about the repercussions global warming would have on future generations, with 43 percent saying it would affect them a great deal if nothing is done to address the issue.
The results of the poll also have implications for the presidential race in 2016 as about two-thirds of Americans are likelier to vote for a candidate campaigning to fight climate change. Global warming might not be a concern right now but a candidate that outright denies the existence of the problem will not be in a good light when the campaign period starts. Even 48 percent of Republicans are throwing their weight behind someone fighting climate change.
Jon Krosnick, a political science professor from Stanford University and the survey's author, said that results showing Republican support for climate change efforts is a very powerful finding. But even so, 47 percent of Republicans still believe that addressing the problem with global warming will hurt the U.S. economy.
The number of Americans slowly realizing that climate change is a result of human activity is steadily growing. Back in 2011, Stanford University held another poll and results back then showed that 72 percent believed climate change was at least partly due to human activity.
Older respondents, however, will not be swayed. Older voters are less likely to back a candidate calling for initiatives against global warming and are less likely to be negative towards those who shun the idea of climate change.
President Barack Obama created an action plan for addressing climate change, releasing said plan in 2013. In November 2014, he also entered a deal with China in an effort to reduce carbon emissions but 60 percent of the respondents felt the president was not doing more. Thirty percent of them think that global warming is only moderate important to the president.
In the survey, majority favored tax breaks as incentives for stopping burning coal and using renewable energy.