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  Democrats express greater concern about climate change

  Nearly half of Americans believe global climate change is caused a combination of humans and nature.

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ST. LEO, FL  Americans are less concerned about global climate change and the environment now than in previous years, a new Saint Leo University Polling Institute survey shows with the latest poll displaying the lowest level of concern in six years of polling data.

The polling was conducted online between February 28 and March 12, among more than 1,000 respondents nationwide. The margin of error for the results was 3.0 percentage points in either directions. 500 additional people were surveyed in Florida, Saint Leo University’s residential campus. The margin of error in the responses is plus/minus 4.5 percentage point.

Nationally, 70.2 per cent are concerned about climate changes. In 2021 72.2 percent said they were concerned. In previous years, polling showed 73.3percent were worried in 2020, 71.3percent in 2019, 74.4percent in 2018, and 75.1percent in 2017.

The latest polling in Florida shows that 72.6 percent are concerned about climate and the environment. Previous polls showed concern at 75% in 2017, 75% in 2020, 76% in 2019, 68.6 in 2019, 74.4% in 2018, and 75.5% in 2017.

Concern is greater among Democratic voters at 89.7 per cent, while Republicans are at 54.6 per cent and independents at 68.2 percentage. Concern is 92.1 percent among those who identify themselves as liberals. It is 74.3 percent for moderates and 53.5 percent for conservatives. The highest level of concern among senior respondents to the national poll is 75.4 percent for those aged 65 and over. 74.9 percent are 18-44 and 64.1 percent are 45-64.

I wonder if this is due to people feeling that they are doing more to help the environment. Maybe it isn’t in as much trouble now as it was once. [it still is]According to Dr. Cheryl Kozina (associate professor of biology), the polling results were overwhelming. Telecommuting is a growing trend that will reduce commutes. [either not commuting at all or limiting the days that they commute to the office]I can imagine many people believing that we are doing more for the environment now than we did in the past. Although this is true, it is only a small step towards the right direction. It is important to recognize the human contributions to climate change: agriculture, deforestation, but most importantly, the usage [overuse]Use of fossil fuels in industry, transportation

Cause and Effect

The Saint Leo University Polling Institute gave respondents four statements about climate change. They were then asked which statements best reflected their beliefs.

The following table shows the results:

Views on Global Climate Change National February 2019 – % National February 2020 – % National February 2021 – % National March 2022 – % Florida February 2019 – % Florida February 2020 – % Florida February 2021 – % Florida March 2022 – %
Climate change is entirely caused by human activity 21.5 25.2 25.6 25.4 21.4 26.9 27.8 29.8
Nature alone is responsible for global climate change 11.5 11.3 12.1 11.2 13.4 12.9 13.2 12.6
The combination of human activity as well as nature is responsible for global climate change 54.8 52.4 52.8 48.9 52.2 51.8 49.6 46.2
Global climate change is not something I believe in. 6.1 5.9 6.0 7.8 7.4 5.2 6.0 6.8
Do not know/uncertain 6.1 5.2 3.5 6.7 5.6 3.2 3.4 4.6

Nearly half of national respondents (48.9%) believe global climate change is caused primarily by human activity. Another 25.4 percent, 11.2 percent, and 11.2 percent of respondents suggest that it is caused entirely or entirely by human activity. 

The responses of the 48.9 per cent who believe climate change is caused either by human activity or nature are fairly evenly split between political parties. 44.6 percent are Republicans, 46.3% are Democrats, 52.7 percent are independent and say it’s humans and nature. However, Florida polling shows a significant difference in party lines. Out of 46.2 percent Florida respondents stating that climate change is a result human activity or nature, 48.4% of Republican respondents, 39.5% of Democratic respondents, 53.9 percent independent respondents agreed.

See Also

Florida respondents are divided by age. 36.2 percent of the 18-44-year-olds believe that climate change is caused primarily by human activity and natural causes. 51.3% of those aged 45-64 and 57.1% of those 65 and older agree. National polling found that 48% of respondents to climate change believe it is caused by humans and nature. This includes 40% of those between 18 and 44, 52.4% of those 45-64, 66.2 percent of those 65 years and older, and 52.4% of those 45-64.         

Respondents were also asked to indicate whether they had seen any of the following occur in their state or region. Multiple responses were accepted. Based on March 2022 national data, results are presented in descending order.

Do you see any of these happening in your state? National February 2019 – % National February 2020 – % National February 2021 – % National March 2022 – % Florida February 2019 – % Florida February 2020 – % Florida February 2021 – % Florida March 2022 – %
Warmer temperatures 42.4 48.8 42.6 41.0 49.6 55.0 45.6 43.8
Storms and severe weather are not common. 39.2 32.8 28.1 30.6 38.8 35.1 34.6 23.2
Worsened air quality 22.3 22.7 23.5 22.1 14.8 17.1 19.6 14.0
Worsened drought conditions 19.7 19.2 24.5 20.5 14.8 14.0 16.4 14.4
Beach erosion 21.4 24.7 21.6 18.3 56.0 51.9 51.8 37.2
Wildfires 18.1 11.4
Ocean rising or seacoast flooding 15.1 15.9 16.3 13.5 37.6 41.6 36.8 26.8
Flooding in the country 17.7 17.9 13.1 13.1 17.0 19.4 18.4 13.8
Habitat loss or threatened loss 15.6 15.2 14.9 8.7 23.2 24.6 21.4 14.6
Threatened or lost species 13.6 14.4 13.2 8.5 24.4 24.8 22.4 12.0
Increased Polar Oscillations (also known polar vortex, displaced polar Air) 16.1 9.9 11.5 7.6 5.8 5.6 6.6 3.8
Bomb cyclones 4.6 7.6 5.2 4.2 8.0 9.0 9.4 5.2

Respondents were also asked whether they believed climate change was very or partially responsible for the conditions in the above table. A significant decrease in polling was seen with Florida poll respondents and national respondents who said warmer temperatures are due to climate change. 71.2 percent of Floridians and 72% of national respondents said that climate change has caused warmer temperatures.

Respondents had the opportunity to identify themselves in the poll. How responsible global climate change was to environmental events. Respondents were asked whether global climate change was very, somewhat, not very, or not at all responsible for each of these events. The table displays the cumulative totals of those who believe that global climate change is very or somewhat responsible in each case. The results are listed in decreasing order according to national March 2022 results.

Global Climate Change: Who are we responsible? National February 2019 – % National February 2020 – % National February 2021 – % National March 2022 – % Florida February 2019 – % Florida February 2020 – % Florida February 2021 – % Florida March 2022 – %
Warmer temperatures 68.9 70.5 71.3 59.0 66.2 74.1 72.0 58.2
Storms and severe weather are not common 63.8 63.7 67.6 51.4 62.4 68.4 65.2 47.6
Ocean rising or seacoast flooding 66.9 68.8 70.5 46.7 67.2 73.3 73.0 48.0
Worsening drought conditions 61.9 64.7 67.5 44.7 58.4 65.8 62.6 40.6
Worsening air quality 56.8 58.2 63.5 40.6 53.0 59.2 61.4 38.6
Beach erosion 61.2 63.3 65.0 36.8 63.6 68.3

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