Belief of global warming is warming again, after a substantial decline from 2009 to 2010,
according to polling by the University of Michigan and Muhlenberg College. The poll found that 62% of the public believed in the reality of global warming, a rebound from 58% in the fall of 2010.
Public belief in global warming had been declining, falling substantially from 72% in the fall of 2008 to 58% in the fall of 2010. See www.ns.umich.edu/new/releases/20247-poll-belief-in-global-warming-rebounds-after-period-of-decline and http://www.brookings.edu/papers/2012/02_climate_change_rabe_borick.aspx.
The pollsters conclude that the personal observations of Americans about the weather is a key factor influencing opinions about the reality of global warming. Of those believing in global warming 24% pointed to warmer temperatures that they have observed and another 24% mentioned weather changes that they have experienced. Only 9% mentioned science research as the main basis.
Political registration partially predicts ones belief in global warming. Among Democrats, 75% accept the reality of global warming, while 47% of Republicans do. Many more rank and file Republicans accept global warming than do elected Republicans and Republican Presidential candidates. Global warming may be example of how the Republican party has been yanked to an extreme by its activists, while many rank and file Republicans don't agree with the new party orthodoxy.
The poll was conducted in the fall of 2011, obviously before what has been a very warm winter, and so expect to see a further increase in the public acceptance of global warming in the 2012. Indeed, this winter has been so warm that it almost met the global warming test of a central Pennsylvania Republican friend.
In his words, "I will believe in global warming when I don't shovel snow anymore."
My friend, we are getting there.