Poll: Republicans Coming Around on Global Warming

Moderate Republicans are more likely to believe global warming is real, according to a new poll

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After a few years on the back burner, more people, including moderate Republicans, are seeing global warming as a serious problem, according to a poll released today by the Pew Research Center.

Nearly two thirds of people polled said there is solid evidence of the earth warming over the past few decades, up from 59 percent in 2010. Thirty eight percent of respondents said they believe the earth has been warming because of human activity, the same percentage that said global warming is a “very serious” problem. Last year, only 32 percent of respondents said it was a “very serious problem.”

Still, the furor over global warming has died down since its heyday in 2006 and 2007, when more than three fourths of Americans said they believe the earth is warming, and about half believed that human activity caused the warming.

The survey of 2,001 Americans was completed in early November, a few weeks after a team from the University of California at Berkeley proclaimed “global warming is real.” The results of their study found that the earth has warmed about 1° C since the 1950s.

Less than a third of conservative Republicans say there is solid evidence for global warming, but 63 percent of moderate or liberal Republicans said they believe there is solid evidence for global warming, a 22-percentage-point jump from 2009.

The poll echoes the sentiment of more moderate Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Jon Huntsman. In August, former Utah governor Huntsman tweeted “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming.” He recently said that the GOP should not “run from science.” In June, Romney said “I believe the world is getting warmer, and I believe that humans have contributed to that.”

That hasn’t resonated with the Tea Party, though. According to the Pew poll, they are least likely to believe that humans are responsible for global warming—just 11 percent of Tea Party supporters believe humans are to blame.

Meanwhile, more than three fourths of Democrats and about two thirds of independents said they believe there’s solid evidence for global warming.