The latest Economist/YouGov poll finds that one-third of Americans say that in the past week they have experienced temperatures of 100 degrees Fahrenheit or higher, including 6% who say they have experienced temperatures of 110 or above. More than half of Americans (55%) say that this summer has been somewhat or much hotter than usual, while only 9% say it has been somewhat or much cooler than usual.
Among Americans who experienced extreme heat in the past week – 100 degrees and above – 91% have air conditioning in their homes, with only 8% saying they do not. Among all Americans, just 13% say they have no air conditioning.
However, nearly half of Americans with air conditioning in their homes (49%) say they sometimes turn down the power of their air-conditioning unit, or refrain from using it altogether, because of its cost. When asked about the temperature they typically set their air conditioner to, only 22% say they keep it below 70 degrees, while 66% keep it between 70 and 79 degrees.
With the recent extreme temperatures felt throughout most of the country, how do Americans feel about climate change? More than half (57%) say they think the climate is changing as a result of human activity. Approximately one-quarter (27%) think the climate is changing, but not as a result of human activity, and only 7% think the climate is not changing. Among Americans who have experienced temperatures of 100 degrees and above in the past week, 64% think the climate is changing as a result of human activity; 5% say the climate is not changing.
Half (51%) of Americans think that heat-wave disasters are a result of climate change, but this opinion varies by party: 75% of Democrats think heat waves are a result of climate change, while only 24% of Republicans agree; 68% think they are events that just happen from time to time. More Independents say that heat waves are due to climate change than say they are events that just happen from time to time (by 48% to 35%).
Most Democrats (64%) say that the worst effects of climate change can still be avoided if drastic changes are made, while only 40% of Independents and 23% of Republicans agree.
As for whether or not there is currently a climate emergency in the U.S., 75% of Democrats say yes, while only 43% of Independents and 22% of Republicans agree.
– Carl Bialik contributed to this article
This poll was conducted on July 23 - 26, 2022 among 1,500 U.S. adult citizens. Explore more on the methodology and data for this Economist/YouGov poll.
Image: Fabio Partenheimer on Pexels