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Global Warming Concern at Three-Decade High in US


A Gallup poll published on March 14, 2017 summarized the increasing view of America's constant concern with global warming. Gallup is a renowned company providing analytics and statistics of various topics based on surveys and research. Gallup works with world class leaders and organizations to provide information to the public and solutions for developing problems. Documented as a reputable source, Gallup is heavily relied upon for information on subjects ranging from domestic and international questions by politicians, the media, and various professionals. Thus, with recent suspicion of the severity surrounding global warming and in particular instances, even the validity of the notion itself, the intriguing Gallup research has indicated that more and more Americans are in fact worried of global warming damaging the environment.

The poll, published on the Gallup website, is in comparison to a previous Gallup poll conducted in 2015 initiating the same questions concerning the environment and the global warming notions. Lydia Saad, pollster and senior editor for The Gallup Poll, breaks down the graphics and information from the poll into a short article. At the bottom of the article, Gallup provides their survey methods for this particular poll as well as a link for information of survey methodology. The sample was conducted as such:

Results for this Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted March 1-5, 2017, with a random sample of 1,018 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on the total sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level. All reported margins of sampling error include computed design effects for weighting. Each sample of national adults includes a minimum quota of 70% cellphone respondents and 30% landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas by time zone within region. Landline and cellular telephone numbers are selected using random-digit-dial methods. (Gallup)

Due to Gallup’s survey methods and inclusion of specifics surrounding all their polls, the organization has been deemed a reputable and responsible source. Therefore, in light of recent political turmoil, the Gallup results reflect a nonpartisan view on the current state of the environment. While President Donald Trump previously noted global warming to be a hoax, “Americans’ level of worry about global warming has seesawed over the past two decades,” Gallup says in announcing the findings. “Several plausible reasons for the fluctuations include the May 2006 release of ‘An Inconvenient Truth,’ highlighting U.S. Vice President Al Gore’s aim to educate Americans about global warming, as well as controversy from 2009 to 2011 surrounding global warming research” (Gallup). Relevantly referring to the dip in concern for the environment, Saad points to the recession and post-recession years between 2007-2011 as enveloping the American populus. Anxiety of Trump’s administration, however, has increased the public’s awareness on a variety of issues including the dangers of global warming. The questions, explicit of their intentions, had those polled make a choice between what/who causes the events surrounding the environment. Below are four graphics Gallup provided in their article of the poll, analyzing their data:

The first question evaluates Americans’ view on the cause of global warming with sixty-eight percent viewing the cause of global warming being effects of pollution from human activities and twenty-nine percent viewing the cause as natural changes in the environment.

This second question involves Americans’ concerns about global warming/climate change as Gallup pollsters asked over the phone: “I’m going to read you a list of environmental problems. As I read each one, please tell me if you personally worry about this problem a great deal, a fair amount, only a little, or not at all. How about global warming or climate change?”. According to this question, forty-five percent of Americans’ are worrying a great deal about global warming/climate change.

This third question is required a yes or no response, being asked as “Do you think that global warming will pose a serious threat to you or your way of life in your lifetime?” with forty-two percent answering “yes”.

Finally, the last question inspects Americans’ belief about effects of global warming with sixty-two percent deeming it has already begun.

Upon reading the Gallup article and evaluating how the questions were worded, it does not seem likely nor possible that it could be misinterpreted. However, there may be greater opinions as to specifics for each question. For example, the first question involving Americans’ view on the causes of global warming, it is likely that many may have the belief that there are several factors to account for. Similarly, there may be a combination of human activities as well as natural changes in the environment. The second question is very direct and straightforward in asking the individual to identify their amount of concern with reasonable amount of choices to answer the question. The third question, obviously requiring a yes/no response, addresses future consequences of global warming; thus the wording and answer choices given are fitting for the question. Finally, the fourth question analyzing the present effects of global warming is also fitting for the question at hand. However, Gallup does not provide the possible answer choices and only presents the percentage with the belief that effects of global warming has already begun.

While there may be a subtle hint of bias in Gallup’s information provided, such as the percentage of beliefs of effects of global warming, there is no detectable flaw in the conduct of the poll nor within the format of the questions or the answers provided. The results of the poll were adequately evaluated by Lydia Saad and relevantly related to the current political situation within the nation. With significant increases from the 2015 Gallup poll, Gallup logically concluded that environmental concerns are relevant to today’s American population in tandem with apprehensions of Trump’s general administration as well as direct influence on what could affect the climate. Conducted during a bizarrely hot time, beginning of March, “Gallup recorded a five-percentage-point spike in the percentage of Americans who worried a great deal about global warming following that year's unseasonably warm February” (Gallup). The tensions surrounding global warming simultaneously occurring during a Presidential administration believing it poses little threat to the future, leads Saad to conclude with a vow of “A subsequent Gallup report will explore the 2017 findings and trends by subgroup to show whether the increased concern this year is shared broadly or confined to certain groups” (Gallup). Regardless, the current state of the environment should be an unquestionable concern of all citizens around the globe; particularly those from nations imposing the greatest harm to it.

Works Cited

Gallup, Inc. "Global Warming Concern at Three-Decade High in US." Gallup.com. 14 Mar. 2017. Web. 28 July. 2017.

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