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Republicans Google 'global warming' during severe weather, according to search analysis

Democrats and people from well-educated localities were more likely to search for the same terms when weather was relatively normal.
By Brooks Hays   |   July 22, 2014 at 6:34 PM
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WASHINGTON, July 22 (UPI) -- A new poll offers details on the way citizens of the world think about climate change, and U.S. participants are looking particularly ignorant to the risks of global warming. Only one in four Americans said climate change was a "major threat," making the U.S. the least concerned nation.

The "Global Attitudes Project" poll, conducted by Pew Research, found that some 54 percent of Canadians are worried about the impacts of global warming.

The poll is making headlines at about the same time a new study revealed Republicans -- who likely make up a significant portion of the 60 percent of Americans who don't consider climate change a major threat -- tend to Google "global warming" and "climate change" during severe or strange weather.

"Different types of people experience weather differently or have different perceptions about what type of weather defines climate change," said Corey Lang, an economist at the University of Rhode Island and lead author of the new study on Google climate change search trends.

In analyzing Google search trends, and comparing those results with weather data, Lang was able to show that Republicans and people from less-educated geographical areas searched for climate-change-related terms during extreme weather -- long hot, dry spells or unusually cold stretches.

On the other hand, Democrats and people from well-educated localities were more likely to search for these terms when weather was relatively normal.

Lang's research was published last week in the journal Climatic Change.

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