The mysterious absence of climate change rhetoric during the 2012 presidential election may have been a serious omission after the results of a newly released poll from Rasmussen Reports found that an increasing number of American voters think global warming is a “serious problem.”
On the day of the election, pollsters asked 1,000 people how much of a threat they believe global warming is to the earth’s climate. Sixty-Eight percent of those asked said it was serious problem facing us today. Thirty percent of respondents said it was not a serious problem.
The number of those concerned about global warming rose significantly compared to those asked the same question in recent years. In 2010, a Gallup poll found that 48 percent of the voting public thought global warming was a problem, which was a two percent increase from a similar Rasmussen Report poll from a year earlier. At the time, forty-one percent of the respondents who believed in climate change said it was caused by human activity.
After Hurricane Sandy hit New Jersey and the New York City -- which could have been one of the reasons for the twenty percentage point shift -- politicians from both states said the storm should be viewed as an alarm about the dangers of global warming.
“Hurricane Sandy provided a wake-up call about the impacts of climate change. Recent extreme weather and climate events make clear that ignoring climate change will be costly in human, environmental and economic terms for the United States and the world,” New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.
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Governor Chris Christie said that “climate change is real” and “impacting our state.” His position differs greatly from the official Republican party platform, supporters of which laughed at a climate change comment made by Mitt Romney during the Republican National Convention. At one recent Romney rally, a protester shouted that global warming was the cause of Hurricane Sandy, a claim that was chanted down by “USA! USA!”
The Guardian reported that President Obama doesn’t exactly have an explanation, either, for avoiding discusssing global warming during his recent campaign. This is striking to some because while Obama has stressed strong support for clean energy and green jobs, he has not provided specifics on how he’ll give global warming a larger role in the national agenda. Many scientists hope the newest poll, and the severity of environmental shifts in recent years, will have a ripple effect and cause more people to pay attention to global warming than ever before.