It’s climate change, stupid. For the first time since 2008, at least seven out of 10 Americans correctly believe there is strong evidence that climate change is real. That’s up seven percent points from April this year and 10 percentage points from last fall, according to a new survey by the National Surveys on Energy and Environment (NSEE).
The 70% level in public acceptance of global warming is just shy of a record high of 72%, recorded in the fall of 2008. The new survey also found a record low percentage of people who said there is no evidence for climate change: 16% today, down one percentage point from 17% in 2008.
Break it down by party lines, and the results are even more stark. A majority (56%) of Republicans reported that they believe there is strong evidence of climate change, compared with 79% of Democrats and 69% of independents.
Only 26% of Republicans who answered the survey believe there is no evidence for climate change, down from 41% a year ago.
The severe droughts playing out in California and other parts of the US seemed to have had a significant impact on changing people’s minds: 61% of Americans who said they believe in global warming cited severe droughts as having had a “very large” impact on their perspective. Respondents were more likely to cite severe drought than melting glaciers, extreme weather, or warmer temperatures.
The NSEE notes study that this latest survey only reflects one point in time, and future studies will be needed to determine if this is “truly a trend of convergence” of views between political parties.