At least according to a new poll, reported today on Huffington Post, they do.
And it's a fascinating piece, packed with amazing stats, like this: "Overall, 78 percent of those surveyed said they thought temperatures
were rising and 80 percent called it a serious problem. That's up
slightly from 2009, when 75 percent thought global warming was occurring
and just 73 percent thought it was a serious problem. In general, U.S.
belief in global warming, according to AP-GfK and other polls, has
fluctuated over the years but has stayed between about 70 and 85
And this: "Overall, the 78 percent who think temperatures are rising is not the
highest percentage of Americans who have believed in climate change,
according to AP polling. In 2006, less than a year after Hurricane
Katrina devastated New Orleans, 85 percent thought temperatures were
rising. The lowest point in the past 15 years for belief in warming was
in December 2009, after some snowy winters and in the middle of an
uproar about climate scientists' emails that later independent
investigations found showed no manipulation of data."
But notice the fascinating part. Belief in climate change has GONE DOWN since Hurricane Katrina! So it appears that folks' beliefs change based on what they read in the news and see on their thermometer - not based on the scientific evidence that is presented to them. Which means I am not feeling particularly hopeful about getting Americans in gear to do something now - which is what we have to do - because climate change isn't always going to manifest locally as a straight linear rise in temperatures. One big blizzard in Chicago, and a whole bunch of us decide, "Nope! No climate change after all!"
That's rather depressing for a Friday morning. I believe I will go have some coffee.