Amer­i­cans say global warm­ing real

Anal­y­sis finds con­cern higher in coastal and drought- stricken ar­eas.

USA TODAY International Edition - - FRONT PAGE - Wendy Koch @ wendykoch USA TO­DAY

The vast ma­jor­ity of Amer­i­cans in each of 40- plus states sur­veyed say global warm­ing is real, se­ri­ous and man- made — and the con­cerns are higher in coastal and drought- stricken ar­eas, says an anal­y­sis out to­day.

At least 75% of U. S. adults say global warm­ing has been hap­pen­ing, but the Stan­ford Univer­sity re­search found that 84% or more took that view in states re­cently hit by drought — Ari­zona, New Mex­ico, Ok­la­homa and Texas — or vul­ner­a­ble to sea- level rise: Delaware, Maine, Mas­sachu- setts, New Jersey, New York and Rhode Is­land.

De­spite in­tense de­bate in Congress on global warm­ing, the re­search found broad pub­lic agree­ment on the is­sue and its reme­dies. Most say past warm­ing has been caused largely by hu­man ac­tiv­i­ties — rang­ing from a low of 65% in Utah to a high of 92% in Rhode Is­land. Most also back gov­ern­ment curbs on green­house gas emis­sions from power plants — from 62% in Utah to 90% in New Hamp­shire.

“The con­sis­tency of find­ings across states was es­pe­cially sur­pris­ing to me,” says au­thor and pro­fes­sor Jon Kros­nick, di­rec­tor of Stan­ford’s Po­lit­i­cal Psy­chol­ogy Re­search Group, adding the anal­y­sis is likely the first to of­fer state- by- state break­downs. He plans to re­lease the find­ings to­day on Capi­tol Hill.

Kros­nick says the data, based on 23 sur­veys — mostly by Stan­ford — sug­gest mem­bers of Congress who ques­tion global warm­ing or op­pose EPA power plant rules may not have an ac­cu­rate view of what their con­stituents want.

“This is still a po­lit­i­cally di­vi­sive is­sue,” says Michael Di­mock, di­rec­tor of the Pew Re­search Center for the Peo­ple & the Press. He says just be­cause most con­stituents want ac­tion doesn’t mean a law­maker’s po­lit­i­cal base does. A na­tional Pew poll last month found that while 67% of Amer­i­cans say there’s solid ev­i­dence the earth has been warm­ing, the GOP is deeply di­vided. Just 25% of Tea Party Repub­li­cans say there’s such ev­i­dence com­pared to 61% of other Repub­li­cans.

Stan­ford’s anal­y­sis looks at opin­ion on 22 ques­tions, some of which had suf­fi­cient data from all but four states — Alaska, Hawaii, North Dakota and Wyoming. It finds that in ev­ery state sur­veyed, most Amer­i­cans sup­port ef­forts to pro­duce re­new­able en­ergy and re­duce air pol­lu­tion from coal as well as boost­ing en­ergy ef­fi­ciency for cars and build­ings.

Less pop­u­lar were gov­ern­ment poli­cies to en­cour­age the build­ing of elec­tric ve­hi­cles and nu­clear power plants. Most un­pop­u­lar were higher con­sump­tion taxes on elec­tric­ity and gaso­line.

JEFF SWENSEN, GETTY IMAGES

Most Amer­i­cans back curbs on green­house gas emis­sions from power plants, a sur­vey finds.

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