PALO ALTO, Calif., May 8 (UPI) -- Support from Americans for government action on global warming remains high, but has dropped during the past two years, a survey by Stanford researchers found.
The survey, in collaboration with Ipsos Public Affairs, showed support for a range of policies intended to reduce future climate change dropped by an average of 5 percentage points per year between 2010 and 2012, a Stanford release reported Tuesday.
In a 2010 Stanford survey, 72 percent of respondents supported government action on climate change -- including mandated reductions in emissions and tax breaks for companies using alternative energy. By 2012, that support had dropped to 62 percent.
Political rhetoric and cooler-than-average weather appear to have driven the shift but economics doesn't appear to have played a role, the researchers said.
Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment, noted that during the recent Republican presidential primary campaign, all but one GOP hopeful expressed doubt about global warming.
Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania described belief in climate change as a "pseudo-religion," while U.S. Rep. Ron Paul of Texas called it a "hoax."
Presumptive Republican nominee Mitt Romney has said, "I can tell you the right course for America with regard to energy policy is to focus on job creation and not global warming."
Overall, the survey found, the majority of Americans support many specific government actions to mitigate the effect of global warming but the figure has dropped.