That Pew Poll on climate change, in context
Pew issued a poll last week that found that 57% of respondents believe there is "solid evidence the earth is warming" -- which is down from 71% back in April 2008.
Obviously it's troubling, and it makes me wonder about all that research on how it's hard to change people's minds once they're set on something. You know, the studies in recent years that say, i.e., if someone believes Barack Obama is Muslim, they will become firmer in their belief when presented with a news report showing clear evidence that they are incorrect. This poll would seem to show the opposite -- it shows the more common sense direction -- that industry's campaigns against the notion of global warming are succeeding.
I'm not sure if this should make us feel better about the Pew poll or not, but David Roberts makes these points:
It should be noted, of course, that 57% ain’t bad, given the public’s generally low level of scientific knowledge. About 79% of people know the earth revolves around the sun rather than vice versa, while 80% believe prayer accelerates healing. Some 75% believe in angels but just 39% believe in evolution.And 20% of our budget goes to foreign aid, I'd add.
The poll also shows that 73% of people—22% more than believe there’s good evidence for anthropocentric climate change—believe it’s a serious or somewhat serious problem.