Is The Latest Heat Wave A Sign Of Climate Change? Many Are Doubtful

July 11, 2012, 12:00 PM GMT+0

(Week of 7/7/2012) Was the latest heat wave a sign of global warming or just one of those things that happen occasionally? The latest Economist/YouGov Poll finds the public dubious about the notion that climate change is the reason behind the heat wave: 35% believe that the heat wave indicates the existence of climate change, while half disagree.

However, skeptics are fewer in number today than they were in the winter of 2011, when massive cold weather swept the country. Then, a majority of the public rejected the possibility that the severe weather was being driven by climate change.

There is a partisan cast to opinions about climate change. Nearly half of Democrats say climate change is the reason for this summer’s heat wave; 77% of Republicans disagree.

Global warming has become a partisan question in general. Asked whether global warming is occurring, more than three in four Democrats say it is, while Republicans are split down the middle. As a whole, however, over three fifths of Americans say that global warming is either probably or definitely happening. Conversely, only 25% say it is probably or definitely not occurring.