Saturday, March 12, 2011

How to talk to Republicans. On one issue, anyway.

Here's something that may alleviate the doom and gloom of the last post somewhat:

Wording change softens global warming skeptics

Are you convinced climate change is real? What about global warming?

Yes, that second question is redundant. But new research finds the two labels, which are widely used interchangeably, evoke remarkably different responses among self-described Republicans.

Writing in the journal Public Opinion Quarterly, a research team led by University of Michigan psychologist Jonathon Schuldt reports Republicans are far more skeptical of "global warming" than of "climate change." In an experiment conducted as part of a large survey, the researchers found 44 percent of Republicans endorsed the notion that "global warming" is real, but 60.2 percent said the same of "climate change."

In contrast, 86 to 87 percent of Democrats endorsed the reality of a changing climate, no matter which descriptive phrase was used. This means the partisan divide over the issue is either overwhelmingly enormous or potentially bridgeable, depending upon the terminology one uses.

The rest.

I came across this after looking at another post by David Roberts over on Grist. I was led to that by his appearance on Science Saturday, a diavlog with Andrew Revkin of Dot Earth fame. It's worth watching if you're interested in a discussion of strategies and tactics to get our country moving on dealing with this problem.

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