Here is some exciting news we almost missed: Despite the yeoman’s service performed by Fox News in explaining to its panicky viewership how global warming was just a hoax invented by the Weather Channel in a cynical plot to gin up ratings, it seems that the never-ending string of Rick Perry’s failed rain dances, the recent creepy tropical winter experienced by most of the country that is confusing the hell out of farmers’ crops, and all those thousands of category-one-million tornadoes mowing down large swaths of Real America are all conspiring to make your fellow citizens a tad suspicious about the alleged fictional nature of climate change. New polling shows that about two thirds of Americans think that global warming is affecting weather in the United States, which means that — brace yourselves — a startling two thirds of Americans believe that global warming exists. In 2009, just over half shared this view. Sustained deadly catastrophe was all it took!
The [Knowledge Networks] poll suggests that a solid majority of the public feels that global warming is real, a result consistent with other polls that have asked the question in various ways. When invited to agree or disagree with the statement, “global warming is affecting the weather in the United States,” 69 percent of respondents in the new poll said they agreed, while 30 percent disagreed.
Asked whether they agreed or disagreed that global warming had contributed to the unusually warm winter just past, 25 percent of the respondents said they strongly agreed that it had, and 47 percent said they somewhat agreed. Only 17 percent somewhat disagreed, and 11 percent strongly disagreed.
Majorities almost as large cited global warming as a likely factor in last year’s record summer heat wave, as well as the 2011 drought in Texas and Oklahoma. Smaller but still substantial majorities cited it as a factor in the record United States snowfalls of 2010 and 2011 and the Mississippi River floods of 2011. Those views, too, are consistent with scientific evidence, which suggests that global warming is causing heavier precipitation in all seasons.
So who’s kind of afraid now of what it will take to get a similar percentage of Americans to believe in evolution? [NYTimes]