Differences in Attitudes toward Climate Change

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Large polling agencies, like PEW Research Center or Gallup, track American’s feelings toward a variety of topics. The focus ranges from politics to attitudes toward social issues, and everything in between.

Of equal interest to diversity researchers is how individual differences affect these attitudes. For example, do people’s attitudes toward a topic vary by gender, race, rural setting, and so on?

The value of understanding these differences came to light when the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication released results from a national poll.

The researchers found that 70 percent of all Americans believe climate change is occurring. While this is interesting in itself, additional results showing various differences were equally intriguing.

Texans, for example, were about on par with the national average, as 69 percent believe climate change is occurring. The figure is 68 percent in Brazos County.

Texans’ perspectives on the issue varied, though, based on where they lived. People living in many rural settings were less likely to believe climate change was taking place, and they were unlikely to express worry about the topic.

In the largely Latino areas of South Texas, approximately 3 out of 4 people expressed concern about climate change. This was higher than the state and national averages. Residents in this area were also likely to believe climate change would harm them personally, and more likely to support policy to curb climate change.

Results show that where we live can and frequently does impact our opinions about social topics, including climate change.