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Guest Thinkers

Inconvenient Truth: Since Film Premiere, Little Change in Public Opinion

Since Earth Day, a number of pollshave been released confirming that public opinion on climate change has changed very little over the past two years or since the premiere of Gore’s An Inconvenient Truth. Conventional wisdom pegged Gore’s film and media campaign as changing the nature of the debate in the public’s mind, but unfortunately this interpretation doesn’t hold up to the data. Americans already concerned about the issue have grown more intense in their feelings, while many others continue to disregard the problem.

The latest evidence is this Pew survey, that details the lingering divide in public perceptions among partisans on the topic, with this divide greatest among the college educated. For more background, see this column I wrote on “Going beyond Gore’s message,” a study I recently published reviewing two decades of public opinion data on global warming, this recent news analysis of polling trends, and this earlier discussion of what exactly accounts for the major gulf in perceptions among college educated partisans.


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