He's gloating over some US poll, by Rassmussen Reports, which is regarded by some people as being somewhat to the right politically. But that is not the point. Earlier this week Rasmussen Reports asked several questions of 1,000 likely voters:
NOTE: Margin of Sampling Error, +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence
- * How closely have you followed recent news reports about global warming?
- * How serious a problem is global warming?
- * An increasing number of news organizations are now banning articles or TV appearances by those who think global warming is not a serious, man-made problem. Do you favor or oppose the decision by some news organizations to ban global warming skeptics?
- * Is the scientific debate about global warming over?
- * Does the media make global warming appear to be worse than it really is, better than it really is or do they present an accurate picture?
Only 14% believe global warming to be "not at all serious"
Anthony Watts was very selective in what he told his readers. This is some of what he didn't tell his readers. The stereotype of a climate science denier is supported by the poll.
- Based on the results reported by Rassmussen, deniers are more likely to be older, male and vote Republican.
- Although only 60% of respondents agreed global warming is a serious problem, 35% thought it very serious. Another 35% thought it wasn't all that serious.
- What deniers won't like is that only 14% of respondents believed global warming to be not at all serious.
You can read the write up of the survey results here. It includes some results from previous surveys as well, such as the results of a May poll, which found that "just 30% of voters think the president should take action alone if necessary to deal with global warming. Twice as many (59%) say the federal government should only do what the president and Congress jointly agree on."
Looking back at past Rasmussen poll results, it appears that there could be an upward trend in the number of people in the USA who think global warming is a serious problem.
What Anthony Watts did tell his readers
This is how Anthony Watts reported the results, quoting directly from Rasmussen Reports:
From Rasmussen Reports:
Voters strongly believe the debate about global warming is not over yet and reject the decision by some news organizations to ban comments from those who deny that global warming is a problem.
Only 20% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, according to the latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey. Sixty-three percent (63%) disagree and say the debate about global warming is not over. Seventeen percent (17%) are not sure. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
Forty-eight percent (48%) of voters think there is still significant disagreement within the scientific community over global warming, while 35% believe scientists generally agree on the subject.
The BBC has announced a new policy banning comments from those who deny global warming, a policy already practiced by the Los Angeles Times and several other media organizations. But 60% of voters oppose the decision by some news organizations to ban global warming skeptics. Only 19% favor such a ban, while slightly more (21%) are undecided.
But then 42% believe the media already makes global warming appear to be worse than it really is. Twenty percent (20%) say the media makes global warming appear better than it really is, while 22% say they present an accurate picture. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.
Still, this is an improvement from February 2009 when 54% thought the media makes global warming appear worse than it is. Unchanged, however, are the 21% who say the media presents an accurate picture.
That's where he stopped. He didn't let on about findings that might be disturbing to the fragile egos of his audience. Such as that only 14% of respondents believe global warming is not at all serious.
The US public is ignorant of the science
The finding that almost half of those surveyed mistakenly think that there is significant disagreement in the scientific community about global warming shows the importance of studies of scientific consensus. More importantly, it highlights the importance of communicating the findings of those studies.