NEWTON CENTRE, Mass. – A majority of Americans of all political beliefs are dissatisfied with what they perceive as weak federal leadership on global warming and energy issues, according to a public opinion poll released today. At the same time they support the growing number of state and local efforts to rein in climate change problems and to tap alternative fuel sources, the poll found.
The national survey was conducted March 15 by the Opinion Research Corporation on behalf of the Massachusetts-based non-profit and non-partisan think tank Civil Society Institute (CSI) and 40MPG.org, which is a project of the CSI think tank.
The survey found that about three out of five Americans (58 percent) are more concerned about global warming today than they were two years ago – including 76 percent of liberals and 57 percent of independents, but only 42 percent of conservatives.
Only about three in 10 Americans (29 percent) say there is "no change" in their view about global warming.
The CSI/40mpg.org survey also found that more than three out of four Americans (76 percent) – including two out of three conservatives – think the federal government is not doing "enough to address global warming and develop alternative energy sources in order to reduce our dependence on foreign oil."
At the same time, more than four out of five Americans (83 percent) – including 77 percent of conservatives – said that "in the absence of federal leadership" today, they support efforts by "state and local officials to curb global warming and promote new energy resources."
Survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted with 1,029 adults (512 men and 517 women) aged 18 and over living in private households in the continental United States.
Interviewing was completed earlier this year by Opinion Research Corporation during the period of February 23-26. Completed interviews of the survey adults were weighted by four variables – age, sex, geographic region, and race, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population. The margin of error is plus or minus 3 percentage points for the complete sample of 1,029 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.
The pollsters found that 77 percent of Americans think that "developing alternative or renewable energy sources and reducing U.S. dependence on foreign oil should be President Bush’s top priority for the balance of his term in office."
Eighty-three percent of Americans – including 72 percent of conservatives and 85 percent of independents – would like to see more attention paid to global warming during the 2006 Congressional elections and the 2008 Presidential elections.
Civil Society Institute President Pam Solo said, "Americans want the President and Congress to take decisive leadership steps on climate change. Right now, state and local officials are filling a massive leadership vacuum in the absence of meaningful federal action. The most important step to solving climate change is clean, safe and renewable energy. The time for diagnosis is long past. We know we have to kick the oil habit."