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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Global Warming? Not in My Backyard - by Bob Burnett

Despite mounting scientific evidence, the prospect of global climate change is not a big concern for many Americans. the April 7th Gallup Poll indicated that while 62 percent worry about global warming, only 36 percent think it will be a big deal during their lifetimes. What explains this? Why do so many Americans remain sanguine?
 
The Gallup poll provides some insight. First, it notes that whether or not you are concerned about global warming depends upon your Party affiliation. The pollsters found that 77 percent of Democrats worried about global warming versus 45 percent of Republicans. In an increasingly polarized society, Democrats and Republicans see things quite differently. This is true on most issues: Iraq, where 72 percent of Republicans think the US "will win" versus 29 percent of Dems, and the economy, where 60 percent of Republicans think economic conditions are "good or excellent" versus 20 percent of Dems. The mood of GOP adherents is remarkably different from that of those who support the minority Party. Sixty percent of Republicans are satisfied with the direction of the country versus just nine percent of Democrats.
 
This polarization may not make sense, but it does follow a certain logic: If you trust George W. Bush, then you accept his view of things. The President doesn't think that global warming is a big deal. Therefore, his supporters-about one-third of the electorate if you believe the latest polls-go along with his perspective. "George is our shepherd, I shall not worry."
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