Opinion by Kip Hansen – 9 April 2022
I was at a dinner dance recently and the dance floor was mostly empty with two exceptions: When the music was Latin American (like the bachata) or when, miracle of miracles, Chubby Checker and his band treated us to “Let’s Twist Again” which resulted in a dance floor so crowded we could barely twist in place.
The Twist? Yes, still a very popular dance and also a very popular journalistic approach to all sorts of news, especially with the results of national polls.
The latest example, of which there is never a dearth or drought, is the Gallup Poll about Climate Change and Extreme Weather. The linked .pdf file only gives the questions and answers for questions 14 through 27 out of a larger poll: “Turning to something else, 14. I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems…”.
The poll is trumpeted by the NY Times as:
“One-Third of Americans Faced Extreme Weather in Recent Years, Survey Finds — Hurricanes and winter weather, such as snow, ice storms and blizzards, were the most common events cited, according to a Gallup poll.”
Gallup itself says: “Extreme Weather Has Affected One in Three Americans”. Despite the odd Chubby Checker-esque text at Gallup, at least they properly placed the linked report in their “Politics” section.
What did they find? In reality, they found that one-in-three had been affected by weather that they did not like. I would have thought it would be higher than that as Americans are forever complaining about too much or too little: rain, sunshine, warmth, breeze, snow and other weather phenomena. Some of that weather might be considered “extreme” only if one means significantly more or less than is normally experienced day-to-day, season-to-season, or year-to-year.
What kind of “extreme weather”? Ever since Global Warming has taken hold of the public imagination – 43% of respondents reported that they worry a “Great Deal” about climate change, down from 46% in 2020 – the weather has been getting colder and colder and winter’s snowier and snowier.
Thus 12% of all Americans and 36% of those affected by extreme weather reported that they had been affected by these two types of extreme weather: Extreme cold and Snow/Ice storm/Blizzard.
Only 5% of Americans reported being affect by Extreme heat.
Now Hurricanes and Tornadoes are extreme weather phenomena and affected 6% and 4% of Americans respectively. There were only two hurricanes and only one of those was a major hurricane which made landfall in the Continental U.S., major Hurricane Ida, which caused a lot of damage on the Gulf Coast of Louisiana. Hurricane Nicholas was a tropical storm until moments before/after landfall and barely made hurricane status. In addition, 5% of Americans were affected by the non-weather related (but included in Gallup’s total) Fire or wildfire and Earthquakes.
One further oddity, Gallup “adjusts” for Gender, Race, Age, Education, Party I.D., and Ideology. Yet the numbers they use for “Totals” on the question on Extreme Weather are the weight-adjusted numbers from the Party I.D. columns.
The clearest result of the Gallup poll is that the media, including the weather channels both broadcast and streaming, have had great success convincing the population that weather is getting worse and that we are seeing extreme weather more and more, despite factual evidence to the contrary.
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Extreme Weather is a marketing meme developed by weather broadcasters to raise interest, viewership and market share. You know who they are.
The IPPCists use Extreme Weather to attempt to frighten the populace into accepting UN IPCC dictated energy policy and bring about draconian social and political changes.
Weather is weather. Sometimes its wild – always has been – always will be.
Polls are political – always – always have been – always will be.
Thanks for reading.
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