A Macro Political Examination of the Partisan and Ideological Divide in Aggregate Public Concern over Climate Change in the U.S. between 2001 and 2013

Joanna K Huxster, Jason T Carmichael, Robert Brulle


Recent individual level analyses have detailed a progressive polarization between political parties in public concern and understanding of climate change. These micro political analyses are limited by the data and time-scale available in the use of a single surveying organization and instrument. In this paper, we employ macro political analysis of all relevant polling data available on the Roper iPoll Database to develop reliable and valid measures of aggregate public concern over the issue of climate change across a 13-year time-period. Aggregate public opinion is analyzed and separated by political ideology and party identification using Stimson’s (1999) method for pooling multiple polls. Through statistical analysis of six measures of aggregate public opinion trends, we find significant differences between trends in public concern across political and ideological lines, and find that the political right and political left have not only become more polarized on the issue of climate change between 2001 and 2013, but that the populations are not moving as parallel publics as previous literature suggests they might.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5296/emsd.v4i1.6531


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Copyright (c) 2014 Joanna K Huxster, Jason T Carmichael, Robert Brulle

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Environmental Management and Sustainable Development  ISSN 2164-7682

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