Western voters mostly skeptical of global warming

This is interesting. The American Spectator tips us to this this poll, conducted under the auspices of Colorado College’s State of the Rockies project one in which most questions were designed to produce environmentalism-friendly results (of the “Do you favor clean air?” “Do you favor clean water?” nature). The results global warming were, shall we say, a bit inconvenient.

Here’s the summary from the poll, which you can read in full here.

This survey of 2200 voters throughout five Western states (Colorado, Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming) was conducted by the bipartisan research team of Lori Weigel at Public Opinion Strategies (R) and David Metz of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) in order to examine Western voters’ attitudes toward a range of conservation and environmental issues. The survey explored how views of conservation relate to perceptions of state government, budget issues, and the economy in each state.

The survey was designed to create a benchmark assessment of core beliefs and broad values that relate to conservation, although a handful of current policy questions and trade-offs were explored as well. The results of the survey demonstrate that Western voters share broad values when it comes to the environment, despite differing views of state government, budgets, and state leadership. Voters in these five states are more likely to point to something related to the outdoors – be it mountains, wide open spaces, public lands, clean air, or other natural features — as the thing they like most about living in their particular state or the West more broadly. This is followed closely by their ability to participate in outdoor recreational activities. In fact, nearly nine-in-ten say they would prefer spending a day outdoors to spending a day in a city.

Voters in these five states attach a great deal of importance to having clean water, clean air, natural areas and wildlife as a fundamental ingredient in the good quality of life in their state. Two-thirds of these Western voters view those things as an aspect of life that is fragile and needs to be cared for and protected, rather than as an enduring feature of life that is unlikely to change. This underlying sense of guarding a fragile yet important part of their lives appears to play a role in how

Western voters respond to a range of environmental issues. Two-thirds believe the current laws protecting land, air and water should be strengthened, or at least better enforced. Even when provided with an economic rationale for reducing some of these standards on major employers such as agriculture and construction, three-quarters of Western voters believe the current laws should stand as they are.

In fact, voters in these five states tend to reject the concept that the economy and the environment are in conflict with one another. They overwhelmingly believe that environmental standards and a strong economy are consistent with one another, rather than having to choose one over the other. One area where they see the potential for job growth is increasing the use of renewable energy sources, as twothirds perceive this to be a job creator for their state. That said, two-in-five blame “too many” environmental regulations for costing their state jobs.

Overall, Western voters indicate more positive impressions of solar and wind power as energy sources than they do for coal or oil. However, this is one area where there is a notable exception: Wyoming residents are generally positive toward all energy sources tested. Across all five states, though, voters

indicate that they would dramatically increase the amount of their state’s electricity needs being produced by renewable sources. They reject the idea that these power sources are too unreliable, and a majority in every state says it is time to start replacing coal with these other energy sources. Once informed of the actual proportion of electricity generation coming from renewable sources in their state, a majority would be willing to pay at least ten dollars more per month to increase the use of renewable energy in generating electricity.

Air quality ranks as a top tier environmental concern in all of these states, and particularly in Utah, where a majority of 52% volunteered the issue as the most pressing environmental concern in the state. Climate change and global warming, on the other hand, rank below 11 other issues as an environmental problem facing their state. The latter is the most politicized issue tested in the survey, with attitudes about whether to take action on global warming varying dramatically along party lines.

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Table addition and caption: Anthony

Table on news sources from the poll. Note how many conservative democrats are skeptical. This suggests that the bulk of the AGW movement is with the far far left.

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Voters are solidly in support of the EPA requiring reductions in carbon emissions from sources like power plants, cars and factories in an effort to reduce global warming. Our past research would lead us to conclude that voters see auxiliary benefits to addressing carbon emissions and a broader benefit to air quality from such a policy.

The political landscape in which voters are reacting to these issues is one of a unique combination of skepticism and optimism, which varies from state to state. Montana, Wyoming and Utah voters are more positive about the direction of their state, while Coloradans and New Mexicans are evenly divided over how things are going in their states. New Mexicans are the most likely to think their state

government is run by a few big interests and are least trusting of state government, yet they express a great deal of confidence and optimism in Governor Martinez (slightly higher than the positive sentiment hovering around new Governors in Colorado and Wyoming).

While many of these states are more financially sound than their neighbors, budget deficits and cuts in funding to state parks and environmental protections are still viewed as serious problems. One of the most resounding affirmative responses in the survey is agreement that “even with state budget problems, we should still find the money to protect” their state’s land, air and water.

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The American Spectator has this to say about one portion of the poll dealing with carbon caps:

Finally, a disconnect: the pollsters asked whether carbon emission limits should be implemented, and 67 percent of respondents said they believed there should be curbs. I think this is a poorly asked question because  carbon comes in different forms — some of it very gray — and the issue at hand is carbon dioxide, not carbon. I bet most people, when asked, picture carbon as something akin to visible soot rising from smokestacks (an image environmentalists encourage in their anti fossil fuel campaigns), when in fact the alleged warmth culprit is the invisible gas that we all exhale. And clearly the respondents were not made to understand that carbon dioxide limits are tied to the global warming issue.

I liken this to the Penn & Teller prank in which they convince dozens of people to sign a petition in opposition to dihydrogen monoxide (H2O) because of its presence in so many places. If you make it sound like a pollutant, people will believe it’s a pollutant.

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As usual Canadians are behind. Recent poll here showed 80% consider AGW a problem. We’ve got a lot of work to do.

Jeff K

Perhaps if the skiing wasn’t so good this season. Remember when all we heard was crying about the doomed ski industry in this country.

Wondering Aloud

Still showing a growing shift away from climate stupidity.
I worry though… Is Anthony getting any sleep?

Steve Hill

It’s amazing to me that people think ppm increases of CO2 is causing all this warming. Laughable in my opinion. It’s amazing that the USA is stuck using Oil when we have so much Natural Gas we would not run out for hundreds of years. However, when one looks at who was elected president, I guess I should understand that 50% of the people are below average intelligence. If I can get a handout I’ll do what you say, that’s our society now.

David

24% say: ‘There is enough evidence that global warming is taking place that SOME ACTION SHOULD BE TAKEN’ (my emphasis)…
So – they are slightly concerned, and would probably support some legislation and/or targets, to mitigate global warming.
However, the pollsters have put that 24% in the section marked: ‘TAKE ACTION NOW’..
Which only goes to prove – that you can make statistics prove anything you like….

EJ

I find the curious stat the $10/month they would be willing to pay for renewables. If they only knew what the true cost is that might change their minds.

Steve Keohane

While the results are modestly positive, I wonder about the validity of such a small sample size. They queried 2200 people,” registered voters”. I can’t quickly find how many registered voters there are in those states But, as of the 2010 election, those states had 7,981,642 people who were ‘voting eligible’. So if you take 2200 towns of 3628 population each, and sample one person per town you get the same database. Meaningful?? If they are dealing with registered voters, how do they parse party affiliation & independents? I see the last as a potential for biasing the small sample.

Jeff Wiita

jrwakefield says:
February 25, 2011 at 6:04 am
As usual Canadians are behind. Recent poll here showed 80% consider AGW a problem. We’ve got a lot of work to do.
What Canada needs is to let Fox News broadcast across their country. As noted above in the article, 83% of Fox News viewers are skeptics and 16% are alarmists.

harrywr2

EJ says:
February 25, 2011 at 6:49 am
“I find the curious stat the $10/month they would be willing to pay for renewables. ”
If we assume 1 GW = 1 million homes @$10/month that creates a willingness to spend an additional $120 million per GW per year on ‘clean energy’. If they save up for 8 years they can buy a natural gas plant.

eadler

While the results are modestly positive, I wonder about the validity of such a small sample size. They queried 2200 people,” registered voters”. I can’t quickly find how many registered voters there are in those states But, as of the 2010 election, those states had 7,981,642 people who were ‘voting eligible’. So if you take 2200 towns of 3628 population each, and sample one person per town you get the same database. Meaningful?? If they are dealing with registered voters, how do they parse party affiliation & independents? I see the last as a potential for biasing the small sample.
From January 23-27 2011, Public Opinion Strategies and FM3, a bi-partisan polling team, completed
2200 telephone interviews among a randomly selected sample of 600 registered voters throughout the
state of Colorado, and 400 registered voters each in Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming,
respectively. The margin of overall sampling error is +/- 2.08% at the 95% confidence interval for the
total sample; +/- 4.0% in Colorado; and +/- 4.9% each for Montana, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming.
For results based on other subgroups, the margin of sampling error will differ

If a random sample was truly taken, what this means is that 95% of the time, the percentages found will be within +/-2.08% of the true percentage in the total population. It doesn’t really matter how large the population is, the sample size determines the confidence interval.

Andrew Parker

I was a victim of this push poll. The most poorly worded (though I am sure they thought they were clever) questions I have ever been subjected to, and the pollster agreed.

I question the validity of this poll and wonder how they came up with their responces as I find that the majority of people I talk to are much more well informed as to the lack of reliability of the so called alternate sources for producing electricity. I also think they must have worded their environmental questions in such a manner to get the results they were looking for.

Kev-in-Uk

Any poll should be more directly pointed..
such as
1)do you think global warming is a Major/Minor/No problem?
2)do you think we can do anything about it ? Yes/No
3)How much of your personal income are you willing to be spent on reducing global warming?0%/1%/5%/10%/as much as it takes.
4)Do you believe carbon/green taxes will help reduce emissions? Yes/No
5)Have you read up about global warming to gain an impression of it and its consequences other than mainstream media output (TV news, etc)? Yes/No.
Basically, anyone who answers No the last question should have their results discarded as they can offer nothing but tempered or spoon fed and emotionally based input.
question 3) is the killer – and will show REAL public opinion. As we all know, everybody thinks they are charitable – but when it comes to actually putting their hands deep into their pockets……..

Vince Causey

The right hand column is nonsense – it adds the first two responses together to come up with the figure result that 48% say take action now. Even though I’m not trained in the art of polling, I can see immediately that you simply can’t add these figures.
Suppose as well as the two questions as posited towards taking action, you added a third question that asks something like, ‘there is little evidence for co2 changing climate, but we should take action to decarbonise for energy security.’ Suppose you got 20% agreeing with that, then based on their logic, you would have 68% agree that action should be taken. Obviously, you could ask more and more similiarly worded questions until you get 100% agreeing that action should be taken. Something just doesn’t smell right about it.

Michael Penny

The pole asks if people are willing to pay from $0.50 to $15 per month more for “renewable” energy and they found that at least half were willing to pay $10 per month more. They did not ask how much the people were paying per month for energy now. Does the $10 per month represent 5%, 10%, or 25% of what they are paying now? A better question would be what percentage more are they willing to pay. My guess is it would be 10% acceptable but 100% would not. Nobody wants to admit what the true cost of “renewable” energy is.

Garry

Air quality is “the most pressing environmental concern” in Utah?
I find this completely bizarre, since the last few times I was in Utah the air was like heaven.
It belies something whacky in the questions employed in this survey.
Also, using the word “carbon” (the black stuff) as a substitute for “carbon dioxide” (the stuff we breathe) is a very intentional conflation employed by the CAGW religion for very specific PR reasons.

Lady Life Grows

We have a lot of work to do.
We need to promote that graph from a month ago showing how “global warming” compares to number of weather stations. We don’t even know there IS any warming.
Warming would be GOOD, as is carbon dioxide, even though it has at most a trivial effect on temperatures at todays levels. We need to draw attention to what current temperatures really do to plants AND PEOPLE, which is freeze them out most of the time. Our dream vacations are in WARM climes.

DD More

I bet most people, when asked, picture carbon as something akin to visible soot rising from smokestacks (an image environmentalists encourage in their anti fossil fuel campaigns), when in fact the alleged warmth culprit is the invisible gas that we all exhale.
It is even worst when the picture closed-loop cooling towers, which only output condensed water vapor, and call it pollutant too.
See http://www.fotosearch.com/BDX105/bxp25455/

higley7

I am always amazed at how well the greens have pulled the wool over people’s eyes regarding wind energy. This energy source is very environmentally unfriendly, from the rare metal intensive huge magnets to the complex and expensive materials overall to the limitations of the system to the huge land intrusion in the form of footprint, access roads and power transmission to the maintenance to the almost total unreliability.
Wind energy provides security. You KNOW it will not be there when you need it. You KNOW it will be several to 10 times more expensive (without subsidies). You KNOW an economy cannot thrive on unreliable energy—expect little growth and even a permanent recession.
Oh, and solar is just as bad or worse.
You cannot build a reliable energy supply from unreliable energy sources.

higley7

I forgot. Would I pay $10.00 more a month for renewable energy? Sure.
But, they do not go on to then suggest: “Would you be okay with you monthly electric bill going up 4–10 times (or your bill and your taxes, if subsidised)? That would be, ah, NO!

Sorry but this poll is worthless. I believe most of those states, if not all of them, are considered red states.

RockyRoad

Steve Hill says:
February 25, 2011 at 6:22 am

… However, when one looks at who was elected president, I guess I should understand that 50% of the people are below average intelligence. If I can get a handout I’ll do what you say, that’s our society now.

Statistics would dictate that 50% of the people are below average intelligence. What’s absolutely shocking, however, is how devastatingly low is the average.

P Walker

thegoodlocust – Colorado and N. Mexico are definitely blue states , Montana is borderline at the moment . Wonder why they didn’t poll Idaho .

Andrew Parker

Garry says:
“Air quality is “the most pressing environmental concern” in Utah?”
It depends on where you live in Utah. Most of the population, over 2 million people, is concentrated along a narrow corridor, the Wasatch Front, about 120 miles long and three to 15 miles wide on the eastern edge of the Great Basin. Over one million people live in the Salt Lake Valley (about 15 by 20 miles) in the center of that corridor, which suffers from both Summer and Winter inversions. I have chronic bronchitis and I am concerned about air quality in Utah. I would love to have a reason to live in some of the less crowded areas of the State, but there are few jobs to be had there. It is a beautiful state with magnificent vistas, enhanced by very clean air, outside the urban areas.
A quick observation about “carbon” pollution. I took the family on a loop to central and South Central Utah last year (Wasatch Plateau, Capitol Reef, Goblin Valley, San Rafael Swell). It is coal country with several large power plants. We stopped to have lunch in Huntington, which has one of the largest power plants in the state. It was difficult to tell if it was running. You had to look carefully to see the distortion from the heat of the exhaust air and a very faint plume of water vapor that quickly dissipated, otherwise there was no other indication. I suppose that is what they mean by Clean Coal. I found the power plant to be far less intrusive than the windmill farms I have seen in California. I haven’t yet had an opportunity to travel to the Milford area since they started putting windmill farms in a few years ago. I imagine it looks quite horrendous now.
The government requires mining companies to prove that they have the funds to restore the land they disrupt with their activities. Do they require the same of these “green” industries? What happens when the market goes bust and there are millions of acres of derelict wind and solar farms scarring the land? Does the taxpayer pay for the cleanup?

Vince Causey

RockyRoad,
“What’s absolutely shocking, however, is how devastatingly low is the average.”
Compared to what?

François GM

“Statistics would dictate that 50% of the people are below average intelligence. ”
Wrong. … below MEDIAN intelligence.

George E. Smith

Why do they always have to add that “we gotta do more research first.” ?
The research we’ve done so far, claims that it is already too late to fix the problem; the CO2 is going to last for a thousand years. Maybe that’s what Churchill was talking about.
So let’s give the R&D money to the engineers instead, so they can figure out how to adapt to a climate that is a whole degree C hotter than today.

Sam the First

What worries me is that most of those wanting action are the young, who have been endlessly brainwashed within the educations systems of various countries, inc the USA, UK and Aus. We of more mature years and judgment need to reach the young – and before *they* become people of influence, teachers and journalists in their turn

George E. Smith

“”””” François GM says:
February 25, 2011 at 2:16 pm
“Statistics would dictate that 50% of the people are below average intelligence. ”
Wrong. … below MEDIAN intelligence. “””””
What if the “Statistics” are based on the assumption of a normal Gaussian Distribution ? What about if the “Statistics” are statistics of some theoretical model of Intelligence; and not related to the population being tested; then the whole question would be up in the air.
Besides “Statistics” only tells you the likely outcomes of a whole bunch of tests; you can’t use it to predict the outcome of any single test.
If you buy one ticket to a lottery; you will either win or lose; most likely you will lose; and you can prove that by buying one ticket to a whole bunch of lotteries; but it is always possible that first single ticket could win the whole enchilada. Statistics isn’t for single events.

NikFromNYC

Good lord they have indeed taken two separately asked questions, nearly identical to each other, both thus resulting in the same 24% affirmative response, and then they ADDED the two together to claim 48% affirmation.
http://oi54.tinypic.com/25tvyas.jpg

NikFromNYC

Oops, it was multiple choice instead of yes/no so it was indeed a separate population of 24% answering affirmative.

tokyoboy

The crux is that the ‘TAKE ACTION” winds up being nothing more than a hollow phrase.
There has been, and will be, no “action” whatsoever that could abate global warming, even if the latter is a reality.
Many people are not aware of this, or merely pretend so?

“What Canada needs is to let Fox News broadcast across their country. As noted above in the article, 83% of Fox News viewers are skeptics and 16% are alarmists.”
Liberals/socialists here are bending themselves into contortion trying to stop Fox North. The sentiment is Fox News always lies. Quite pathetic.

Paul Vaughan

Natural climate variations are absolutely fascinating & endlessly discussion-worthy, but this excerpt succinctly clarifies why the politics are nonalarming:
“[…] voters see auxiliary benefits to addressing carbon emissions and a broader benefit to air quality […]”
The dishonesty, however, is unacceptable; just (1) call it toxic pollution reduction (without reference to carbon), (2) get back to also protecting parks & natural forests rather than continuing to destroy the reputations of mainstream science & environmentalism, & (3) reallocate the lion’s share of climate funding to support natural variations research (strictly (!) excluding all modeling based on absolutely untenable assumptions).

Larry in Texas

“Across all five states, though, voters indicate that they would dramatically increase the amount of their state’s electricity needs being produced by renewable sources. They reject the idea that these power sources are too unreliable, and a majority in every state says it is time to start replacing coal with these other energy sources.”
Wow. And when I looked at the first chart above, I thought these people were well informed. Well, about one issue they are. But not about that one. I agree with the American Spectator’s take on the “carbon question” as being poorly worded.

Brian H

I’m in Canada, and have Fox News, watch it almost exclusively. It costs me about $2/mo. add-on to my cable bill.

Mkelley

Weather like we are having right now in Montana tends to reinforce my skepticism about global warming too: http://www.weather.gov/view/prodsByState.php?state=MT&prodtype=hourly

R. Craigen

Let’s see… I haven’t followed the study link, so sight unseen, I’ll spew a conjecture: the authors will conclude that the study definitively shows that efforts to indoctrinate educate the public have not been concerted enough and they will initiate calls for further public resources to be aligned to that purpose.
Of course, in reality it is the 48% in BLUE cyber-ink that represents a grossly under-educated demographic, and I call upon legislators everywhere to pour money into WUWT and similar educational sites to help these obviously conflicted citizens make up their minds on the matter.

Brian H

R. Craigen;
I think a few billion of that may need to be set aside for de-programming interventions.