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It seems that people “believe” in climate change (really, global warming in particular) when it it hot out more than at other times. And by “people” I mean the population in general. It turns out that Democrats don’t change their position on climate change as the temperature outside changes (they already know it is real) and Republicans do a little (because it is true and a small number of them will put reality before politics). Meanwhile, those darn Independent voters who have somehow taken over our democracy for some very poor reasons (IMHO) wildly change their beliefs literally on the basis of the ambient temperature. Talk about sticking your finger in the air and seeing which way the wind blows before making an important decision!

Here’s a graph showing this relationship (HT Peter Gleick):

Independents and climate change belief

Climate Change Beliefs of Independent Voters Shift with the Weather, UNH Study Finds

DURHAM, N.H. – There’s a well-known saying in New England that if you don’t like the weather here, wait a minute. When it comes to independent voters, those weather changes can just as quickly shift beliefs about climate change.

New research from the University of New Hampshire finds that the climate change beliefs of independent voters are dramatically swayed by short-term weather conditions. The research was conducted by Lawrence Hamilton, professor of sociology and senior fellow at the Carsey Institute, and Mary Stampone, assistant professor of geography and the New Hampshire state climatologist. The research is presented in the article “Blowin’ in the Wind: Short-Term Weather and Belief in Anthropogenic Climate Change” in the American Meteorological Society journal Weather, Climate, and Society.

“We find that over 10 surveys, Republicans and Democrats remain far apart and firm in their beliefs about climate change. Independents fall in between these extremes, but their beliefs appear weakly held — literally blowing in the wind. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus on human-caused climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to, ” Hamilton and Stampone say.


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