New Stanford Poll Finds Waning Concern About Man-Made Global Warming


A new poll by researchers at Stanford University finds that public concern over global warming and support for various proposed policies aimed at addressing that problem has eroded over the past two years. The drop is especially large among respondents who expressed less trust in environmental scientists. See chart below: 

The Stanford pollsters did find that while a majority of Americans still favor various government policy interventions into energy markets, support for all of those policies between 2010 and 2012 is also falling off: (1) require lower higher mileage cars dropped from 77 to 65 percent; require electric cars down from 65 to 53 percent; require more efficient appliances fell from 77 to 65 percent; require more efficient buildings declined 78 to 67 percent; require power plants to emit less greenhouse gases slumped from 78 to 70 percent; favored tax breaks for renewable power slipped from 86 to 73 percent; tax breaks to build nuclear power plants dropped from 47 to 43 percent. 

Oddly, the poll respondents do not appear to recognize that all of those policies would likely increase their out-of-pocket expenditures and/or taxes. I suspect respondents of just wanting all "good things" without considering the hidden trade-offs. The more accurate way that the Stanford pollsters might have phrased each question: Would you favor government energy efficiency mandates on, say, appliances even if it would cost you more to buy them? 

In any case, large majorities opposed higher taxes on gasoline and electricity as a way to discourage the emissions of greenhouse gases; support for higher taxes on gasoline and electricity fell from 33 to 26 percent and 24 to 18 percent respectively.