NEW YORK – Most Americans believe in global warming, according to the latest FOX News poll, and a majority thinks it is caused at least in part by human behavior, though many believe normal climate patterns are a factor.
The national poll, conducted before the release of the United Nations’ report on climate change last week, finds that fully 82 percent of Americans say they believe in global warming, up from 77 percent in October 2005, while 10 percent disagree and 8 percent are unsure.
Democrats (91 percent) and independents (84 percent) are much more likely to say global warming exists than Republicans (72 percent), although sizable majorities of all demographic groups are in agreement.
When those who believe in global warming are asked what they think is the main cause of the situation, there is widespread belief that human behavior — such as driving and burning too much fossil fuel like coal and oil — is a contributor to the problem. Four in ten Americans say people are to blame outright (41 percent) and another 38 percent think it is a combination of human action and normal climate patterns. Few believe that global warming is an entirely natural occurrence (14 percent).
Here again there is a partisan divide, as half of Democrats believe human behavior is the cause of global warming (52 percent) compared to 30 percent of Republicans. One in five Republicans attribute global warming to normal climate patterns and 42 percent say it is both.
Opinion Dynamics Corporation conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from January 30 to January 31. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
"The growing concern about global warming is clearly affecting Republicans despite the skepticism of many key interest groups in their coalition," said Opinion Dynamics Chairman John Gorman. "Between Iraq and global warming, the Republicans are facing more and more trouble balancing their positions with interest groups and voter concerns."
Overall, most Americans feel they understand the issue of global warming, including a third that says they understand it very well (32 percent), and another 47 percent somewhat well, with 18 percent saying they don’t understand the issue.