Climate Change Action Now Helps Win Elections: Poll

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Flooding in Hoboken, N.J. following Hurricane Sandy.
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Politicians who oppose taking action on climate change or discount the whole matter could be risking their careers.

Public opinion in the United States has shifted in favor of doing something about climate change, and politicians who want to get elected need to take note of it, according to a new study by the Yale Project on Climate Change Communication.

A nationwide survey conducted before the November election found that concern about the effects of global warming is high across political groups, with most Democrats and Independents expressing concern about global warming and its potential harm for people today as well as to future generations. A clear majority of registered voters, 58 percent, said they would consider a candidate's position on global warming when deciding how they will vote.

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Most Republicans get the message as well, with 52 percent saying that global warming should be a priority for the President and Congress. In fact, only 2 percent of Democratic voters, 10 percent of Independent voters and 28 percent of Republican voters say the United States should make no effort to reduce global warming.

"We have a whole series of questions we ask again and again and track over time," said Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale project, which polls the same approximately 1,000 people, year in and year out, to get a view of how public opinion changes over time.

Pollsters and statisticians agree that 400 is the minimum survey size for getting a representation of U.S. public opinion, with an accuracy of plus or minus 5 percent. The Yale project uses a pool of 1,000 randomly selected Americans so that they can study sub-groups -- like Democrats, Independents and Republicans -- and still get statistically meaningful results.

Next page: See a graph showing poll results of Americans' feelings on climate change.--->

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