Publication Type

Journal Article

Publication Date

3-2015

Abstract

Despite strong agreement among scientists, public opinion surveys reveal wide partisan disagreement on climate issues in the united States. we suggest that this divide may be exaggerated by questionnaire design variables. Following a brief literature review, we report on a national survey experiment involving U.S. Democrats and Republicans (n = 2,041) (fielded August 25–September 5, 2012) that examined the effects of question wording and order on the belief that climate change exists, perceptions of scientific consensus, and support for limiting greenhouse gas emissions. wording a questionnaire in terms of “global warming” (versus “climate change”) reduced Republicans’ (but not Democrats’) existence beliefs and weakened percep- tions of the scientific consensus for both groups. Moreover, “global warming” reduced Republicans’ sup- port for limiting greenhouse gases when this question immediately followed personal existence beliefs but not when the scientific consensus question intervened. we highlight the importance of attending to questionnaire design in the analysis of partisan differences.

Keywords

climate change, global warming, question wording, scientific consensus, framing effects, partisan differences, survey experiments

Discipline

Business and Corporate Communications | Environmental Policy | Social Influence and Political Communication

Research Areas

Corporate Communication

Publication

ANNALS of the American Academy of Political and Social Science

Volume

658

Issue

1

First Page

67

Last Page

85

ISSN

0002-7162

Identifier

10.1177/0002716214555066

Publisher

SAGE Publications (UK and US)

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 4.0 License.

Additional URL

http://doi.org/10.1177/0002716214555066