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Most research into environmental concern linked to political ideology in the U.S. has so far had a three-party system (Democrats, Independent, Republican). What does the ideological landscape look like if you separate out the Tea Partiers from the Republicans?
WHY YOU SHOULD TAKE A LOOK
Political ideology and libertarian beliefs are the strongest indicators of whether someone will accept the science of climate change or not.
Tea Party supporters are more likely to be older, middle-class, white, male, Christian Evangelicals with high levels of education and fiscal conservatism.
From the survey (where respondents self-identified their political grouping), Tea Party supporters were less likely to trust scientists for environmental information and less likely to believe in evolution. Meanwhile, Republicans were more likely to look favourably on ‘production science’ related to industry, while distrusting environmental impact science.
Tea Partiers were more likely to be wrong about scientific facts related to climate change – 45% of Tea Party respondents knew CO2 levels were increasing in the atmosphere, 51% knew Arctic sea ice was shrinking, 48% knew glaciers were shrinking, and only 26% knew that humans have released more CO2 than volcanoes.
Tea Partiers are also more certain that they are correct, with 83% expressing confidence that they knew a moderate or great deal about climate change. In contrast, 70% of Republicans and 75% of Independents were confident in their knowledge on climate change.
For many of the surveyed questions, there was less difference between Independents and Republicans than there was between Republicans and Tea Partiers.
The higher your level of education, the more opinions diverged along political lines – the more educated a Tea Party supporter was, the less likely they were to agree that climate change is real.
image via flickr (cc) Tim Hamilton