President Obama is emphasizing global warming ahead of the November elections, but a new poll suggests he faces an uphill climb.
According to a Pew Research Center poll, 35 percent of Americans say there is not enough solid evidence to mankind is warming the Earth while another 18 percent says the world has warmed due to “natural patterns” and not human activity.
That’s a 53 percent majority against the president’s position.
Of the 35 percent who cite lacking evidence for their disbelief, half say it’s because man-made global warming is “just not happening” or that we “don’t know enough yet” about the issue to tell. Pew says that “business conservatives” and “steadfast conservatives” have the largest majorities that don’t believe in man-made global warming, with 75 percent and 71 percent, respectively.
Forty percent of Americans believe that mankind is causing the planet to warm. So-called “solid liberals” are the most likely to say human activity is warming the Earth — 78 percent of this group believes this to be true.
But younger cohorts of voters also seem to be more worried about global warming, according to Pew. Even among the group called “young outsiders”, belief in man-made global warming is high, as 37 percent of this cohort believes mankind is responsible for heating the planet.
Pew describes “young outsiders” as “a right leaning group” that diverges “from the conservative groups in their social liberalism, while holding deeply conservative values about the role of government and the social safety net.”
This week, the White House and its environmentalist allies kicked off a series of events highlighting the dangers of global warming. It started with the release of a report from the group Risky Business, which said that global warming would cause hundreds of billions of dollars in economic damages in the coming years.
And Wednesday night, President Obama gave the keynote address at a dinner hosted by the League of Conservation Voters, a massive environmental group that pours millions into elections and issue campaigns. During his speech, he lambasted global warming skeptics for questioning the so-called scientific consensus on the issue.
“I’m not a doctor either, but if a bunch of doctors tell me that tobacco can cause lung cancer, then I’ll say, ‘OK.’ It’s not that hard,” Obama, said to applause from environmentalists.
“When you take those first steps, even if they’re hard, even if they’re halting sometimes, you start building momentum and you start mobilizing larger and larger communities,” he said. “Every step makes a difference.”
But it looks like Obama may have more convincing to do when it comes to global warming, if more than half the public is skeptical to the idea that mankind is warming the planet.