Among Independent voters, belief in climate change actually shifts with the weather

Illustration for article titled Among Independent voters, belief in climate change actually shifts with the weather

A newly published study by climatologists and sociologists at the University of New Hampshire suggests the views of Independent voters on anthropogenic (i.e. caused by humans) climate change are as capricious as New England weather. Write researchers Lawrence Hamilton and Mary Stampone, who conducted the study (emphasis added):

Statewide data from 5,000 random-sample telephone interviews conducted on 99 days over two and a half years (2010 to 2012) are merged with temperature and precipitation indicators derived from USHCN station records. The surveys carry a question designed around scientific consensus statements that climate change is happening now, caused mainly by human activities. Alternatively, respondents can state that climate change is not happening, or that it is happening but mainly for natural reasons. Belief that humans are changing the climate is predicted by temperature anomalies on the interview and previous day, controlling for season, survey and individual characteristics. Temperature effects concentrate among one subgroup, however: individuals who identify themselves as Independent, rather than aligned with a political party. Interviewed on unseasonably warm days, Independents tend to agree with the scientific consensus regarding anthropogenic climate change. On unseasonably cool days, they tend not to.


Now seems as good a time as any to remind everyone: weather ≠ climate, weather ≠ climate, weather ≠ climate.

The full study is available in the latest issue of Weather, Climate, and Society.

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So, the takeaway is.... 'Independent' voters are fickle morons?