'Understanding' of Climate Change Depends on Politics, New Study Finds

'Understanding' of Climate Change Depends on Politics, New Study Finds

Dec 06, 2011

While many Americans believe that climate change is happening today, their opinions about the science that explains it are tied to other political beliefs, according to new research from Carsey Institute at UNH.  Views of New Hampshire residents largely mirror the national patterns.

“Most people report understanding a moderate amount or a great deal about climate change, but what they mean by ‘understanding’ varies with their political beliefs, which lead them to opposite perceptions about science,” said Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology at UNH and a senior fellow at the Carsey Institute. 

 "They often derive their information and sense of understanding from sources chosen to align with their politics. Democrats are more inclined to trust scientists as a source of information on environmental issues. Only a minority of Republicans say they trust scientists."

This latest brief from Dr. Hamilton looks at responses by New Hampshire residents and compares them to a national survey done at Carsey this summer.  Hamilton will present results from these and other surveys at meetings of the American Geophysical Union in San Francisco this week.

The study was supported by grants from the Ford Foundation; the Neil and Louise Tillotson Fund; the Office of Rural Development, U.S. Department of Agriculture; the UNH Sustainability Academy; and the Carsey Institute.

Read the brief: Do You Believe the Climate Is Changing? Answers From New Survey Research

Read the press release: 'Understanding' of Climate Change Depends on Politics, New Carsey Institute Research Shows

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