POLITICS

Republicans' Climate Change Concern Rebounding, Gallup Poll Finds

04/10/2013 12:42 pm 12:42:09 | Updated Apr 10, 2013

Republicans and Democrats still hold strikingly different views on climate change, although conservatives and independents have warmed up to the notion over the past few years, according to poll released by Gallup on Tuesday.

In the study, 40 percent of Republicans said they worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming, up from 32 percent in 2012. 75 percent of Democrats gave similar answers, down from 79 percent last year.

The poll comes a day after another Gallup study which found more Americans concerned about climate change than in recent years, though not the record support seen in 2000.

The shift has been reflected in some GOP politicians including R. Rex Parris, the Republican mayor of Lancaster, Calif., who recently told The New York Times that climate change is a serious threat, saying "I may be a Republican. I'm not an idiot." He's helped the city develop the largest installed solar power capacity in the state.

Although some Republicans are acknowledging climate change, one of the biggest partisan divides was seen when asked about the cause of global warming. 78 percent of Democrats said human activities were the cause, a 10-year high, while only 39 percent of Republicans said the same -- a 39-point gap.

Respondents were also asked about the onset of global warming. Two-thirds of Democrats responded that warming "has already begun to happen," yet only 39 percent of republicans agreed.

One of the largest increases in conservative opinion was seen when asked if most scientists believed global warming was occurring. 74 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans responded yes, up from a ten-year low of 37 percent in 2011.

The poll was conducted through telephone interviews from March 7-10 and 1,022 individuals, aged 18 and older, were surveyed in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.

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