Friday, July 29, 2011
Inside the strange world of the climate dismissives
George Mason University's biannual survey "Global Warming's Six Americas" makes for a fascinating study of the demographics, the thinking and the mindset of global warming deniers -- a group George Mason tactfully calls the "dismissives," as in those dismissive of the theory of global warming or any threat therefrom.
The first interesting finding is that deniers are losing support, not gaining support, as they are wont to claim at every opportunity. Dismissives have fallen from 16% of the population at their height to 10% of the population. No other group has shifted nearly that dramatically, although even that could be simple noise (the margin of error since 2010 is +/-3 percent).
Deniers, as the anecdotal evidence would suggest, are overwhelmingly on the right. People worried about climate change, in contrast, are a far more diverse group (click to enlarge):
Only 2 percent of dismissives consider themselves Democrats. Twelve percent of the alarmed, in contrast, are Republicans. Only 3% of dismissives consider themselves somewhat or very liberal; but 16% of the alarmed consider themselves conservative or very conservative.
Climate deniers who are conservative are essentially a rounding error -- maybe just people who didn't listen to the question. For all that people tend to regard their own views as the sane middle ground, only 12% of dismissives regarded themselves as middle of the road! (Thirty-eight percent of the "alarmed" thought so.
So. Climate deniers mostly range from the hard right to the far right, but the the reverse is not true. This tends to undermine the "you're biased too" deflection that deniers use when their own right-wing chorus line becomes embarrassing.
EDIT: Sorry for the blurry graphs; I'm trying to learn that screen capture thing. Click on the graphs for a clear picture. Whole report is here.