ARB Research Seminar
This page updated July 16, 2013
What Americans Really Think About Climate Change
Jon A. Krosnick, Ph.D., Department of Communication, Woods Institute for the Environment, Stanford University
May 26, 2009
Cal EPA Headquarters, 1001 "I" Street, Sacramento, CA
leaders are preparing to advance and implement legislation to mitigate
the causes of climate change and to facilitate adaption. Public
opinion may become an important element in encouraging steps
in particular directions, but in other ways public opinion may be
at odds with legislation.
If large segments of the public strongly favor some courses of action, legislators will find it easier to pursue these policies. However, if large segments of the public strongly oppose certain policy approaches, legislators who pursue them may find themselves ultimately undermined.
Are recent newspaper headlines correct when they announce:
"Scientists and the American Public Disagree
Over Global Warming”?
Does the public really not accept the opinions
of scientific experts on
climate change? What does the public want government to do on
this issue? Which policy solutions to people favor, and
which do they oppose?
To help legislators and regulators understand the forces at work, Professor Jon Krosnick will describe findings from a series of national surveys that he has designed and conducted since 1996, tracking what Americans do and do not believe on the climate change issue. This presentation will highlight surprising results that challenge many widely-held presumptions about public opinion, illuminate the increasing politicization of the issue, and help set the stage for future legislation on climate change.
Jon A. Krosnick,
the Frederic O. Glover Professor in Humanities and Social Sciences and
Professor of Communication, Political Science, and (by courtesy)
Psychology, and Senior Fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University. For 30 years, Dr. Krosnick has
conducted research exploring how the American public's political
attitudes are formed, change, and shape thinking and action.
Dr. Krosnick has illuminated how the news media shape how people
evaluate the President's job performance, how citizens become
passionate about matters of government policy and try to influence
government practice, how people decide whether or not to vote in an
election, how people choose the candidates they support, and much
Dr. Krosnick is also co-principal investigator of the American National Election Study, the nation's preeminent academic project exploring voter decision-making and political campaign effects. This project, funded by the National Science Foundation, has been in operation since 1948 and conducts huge national surveys using state-of-the-art methods before and after national elections and has yielded thousands of academic publications on citizens' evaluations of candidates and reactions to campaigns.
Professor Krosnick is also a wide-recognized expert on questionnaire design and survey research methodology. His research team has produced numerous publications comparing different ways of asking questions to identify the methods that yield the most accurate measurements. He has conducted survey studies of Americans' attitudes on political issues in collaboration with ABC News, the Washington Post, Time magazine, and New Scientist magazine. Dr. Krosnick’s books include the "Handbook of Questionnaire Design" (forthcoming), "Attitude Strength", "Thinking about Politics", and "Introduction to Survey Research, Polling, and Data Analysis." Professor Krosnick teaches courses on survey methodology around the world at universities, for corporations, and for government agencies, testifies regularly as an expert witness in courts in the U.S. and abroad, and has served as an on-air election-night television commentator and exit poll data analyst.