Widespread agreement exists in the U.S. that the global climate is warming, but the reasons behind the temperature increase are debated, according to a Gallup survey.
Sixty-three percent of respondents said that they were aware of reports that 2015 was the warmest year on record, and 69 percent affirmed that these findings were accurate.
Awareness increased with age and education level.
Seventy percent of folks age 55 or older knew about reports compared to 53 percent of 18- to 34-year-olds, while 76 percent of college graduates affirmed knowledge of reports compared to 53 percent of respondents with no college education.
Responses were mixed to questions about the reasons for climate change – 49 percent said it was human-caused, 46 percent stated it resulted from natural changes, and 5 percent had no opinion.
Views on causation varied based on age, education level and political party.
Sixty-one percent of respondents aged 18 to 34 were most likely to affirm human causation for the warming trend (61 percent), compared to 35- to 54-year-olds (52 percent), and those 55 and older (39 percent).
Fifty-six percent of college graduates said humans were driving climate change, while 52 percent of folks with some college and 42 percent of those with no college education did so.
Republicans were least likely to affirm human causation (27 percent) and most likely to say natural cycles were behind the record high temperatures (72 percent).
The numbers were the opposite for Democrats at 72 percent (human-caused) and 24 percent (natural cycles), while independents were divided at 47 percent and 48 percent, respectively.
“This is yet another indication of the extreme degree of partisan polarization surrounding climate change that has evolved in the U.S. over the past decade,” Gallup commented.
The full survey results are available here.