Americans do climate change flip-flop, but skeptics are more skeptical

Severe weather and vehement global warming denials apparently have got more Americans thinking about climate change,

Well, here's a switch. Just weeks after a high-profile poll showed a rather laissez-faire attitude toward climate change, Reuters/Ipsos has released a new poll that show more Americans believe the world is warming.

Perhaps it was Hurricane Irene. Or the continued searing heat in Texas. Maybe even the vehement declarations against climate change in recent Republican candidates debates. Whatever the reason, the Reuters/Ipsos poll showed that the number of Americans who believe that the earth is warming is now 83 percent, compared with 75 percent in a similar poll one year ago. There were 1,134 adults surveyed for the research.

That poll also found that among those that believe warming is happening, 71 percent believe it is partly or mostly caused by humans. About 27 percent believe that it is completely due to natural causes.

The other interesting trend: Those that consider themselves climate skeptics are even more skeptical than they were in 2010. The "certainty" of skeptics was 53 percent in 2011, compared with just 35 percent.

Politically speaking, more Democrats than Republicans believe that global warming is happening.

What makes this all even more interesting is that just last month, a Gallup poll reported that Americans were really no more or less aware about climate change in 2010 than they were just three years before. So, in effect, the vehemence of Republican candidates debates may actually have had the opposite intended effect, according to the Reuters story about the data.

In the Gallup poll, about 55 percent of the respondents agreed that global warming was a "serious" threat, compared with 64 percent in the earlier survey. Only 50 percent agreed that climate change was caused at least in part by human factors, down from 61 percent in the earlier poll.

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