Politics Affect Perception of Warm Weather Causes

In a country where to believe or disbelieve in the reality of global warming is almost a political necessity, it is unsurprising that Gallup recently found that Republicans and Democrats are more likely to disagree on just why the most recent winter was warmer than expected.

Based on telephone interviews conducted across the weekend of March 8 to 11, 2012 of a random sampling of 1,024 adults aged 18 or older across all 50 U.S. states, Gallup found that Republicans and independents were more likely to place the blame for the warmer winter temperatures on normal year-to-year temperature variations, whereas Democrats were more likely to say the cause was global warming.

This split was based on 79% of respondents who agreed that it had been warmer in their local area than usual this past winter. More than nine in 10 of those living in the East (92%) and Midwest (95%) say this winter was warmer than usual, compared with 77% in the South and 55% in the West.

One interesting fact to consider in this study is the likelihood of Republicans to even live in the East, and their tendency to live in the South instead. Given the above percentages, there is a possibility there is a natural explanation, rather than a political one.

Those who did believe that their region had suffered an unusually warm winter were more likely to attribute the cause to normal year-to-year variations rather than global warming, with 46% and 30% respectively.

These views were very related to political orientation though, as 51% of both Republicans and independents said that it had been warmer than usual due to normal temperature variations, and only 19% and 28% respectively attributed it to global warming.

On the other hand are the Democrats, who were more than likely to say that the warmer than usual temperatures were the result of global warming – 43% – compared to natural variation – 37%.

Source: Gallup

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