March 25 (UPI) -- Americans remain concerned about global warming, with two-thirds convinced it is caused by human activity, a Gallup poll released on Monday reveals.
Sixty-six percent of respondents say they believe global warming is caused by pollution from human activities rather than natural changes in the environment. Similarly, 65 percent say they understand that most scientists believe global warming is occurring. Fifty-nine percent believe the effects of global warming have already begun, while another 13 percent expect the effects to occur within their lifetime.
Forty-four percent say they worry a great deal about the issue, and 45 percent say they expect global warming to be a serious threat within their lifetimes, with 35 percent responding that they do not worry at all. Forty-two percent say they believe the news media underestimate the seriousness of the issue, while 35 percent believe the problem has been exaggerated and 22 percent say that news coverage is appropriate.
Gallup has classified respondents in three categories it identified as "concerned believers," "cool skeptics" and the "mixed middle" who, for example, believe that climate change is man-made but are not worried about it. For the first time since the 2001 poll on the same topic, the number of "concerned believers" stands at 51 percent, or the majority of respondents. While that figure is roughly the same as readings in 2018, 2017 and 2016, it has increased significantly from prior years. The number of "cool skeptics" remains flat at about 20 percent, and 30 percent comprise the "mixed middle," down from 37 percent in 2015.
Seventy-seven percent of responding self-identified Democrats are in the "concerned believer" camp, with 52 percent of Republicans in the "cool skeptic" category.
The survey was taken in March, at the end of a winter in which many Americans perceived local temperatures to be lower than normal. The poll indicates that Democrats are concerned with the issue, while Republicans remain skeptical.
The results for the Gallup poll are based on telephone interviews conducted from March 1 to March 10, 2019, with a random sample of 1,039 adults, all over 18, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia. For results based on this sample of national adults, the margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus four percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level.