This opinion piece by Lee Dye from abcNews meshes well with several of the recent topics of discussion – including the extensive discussion of Rodney Stark’s book What Americans Really Believe, the post on Living in Denial, and the ever heated consideration of global warming.
Is the glass half empty, or half full?
Public opinion polls on global warming seem to be all over the map these days. A Gallup poll in March indicated that nearly half the people in the United States think the consequences are exaggerated and they’re not particularly worried about their future. But two polls released in the last few days show that most Americans believe global warming is real, the consequences could be great, and it’s largely our fault.
Truth by survey would be of no consequence if the polls and discussion about them only provided data – they didn’t presume to predict behavior or sway opinion. This opinion piece (like Stark’s book I believe) discusses data – but has an agenda.
“The take-home message is, the more you know about the field of climate science, the more you’re likely to believe in global warming and humankind’s contribution to it.”
Although the polls do not all agree on the numbers, or even the trends, the underlying message is that most people are now recognizing that global warming is real, the consequences are significant, but at the moment they don’t rank up there with getting a job and protecting the country from terrorists.
Public opinion changes, sometimes on whims, sometimes on disasters. But if there’s one thing all of these polls show, it’s that people are paying attention now, more so than ever before. There may be some confusion, and the consequences may seem distant and imprecise, but most Americans are now coming to grips with global warming and what we need to do to stop it.
How accurate are pollsters at determining what Americans really believe – be it about spirituality, religion, or science? Do you pay attention?