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Little Support for Punishing Global Warming Foes

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Global warming advocates are calling for the prosecution of groups who disagree with them, and New York State has taken it a step further by investigating Exxon Mobil for refusing to play ball with the popular scientific theory

But 68% of Likely U.S. Voters oppose the government investigating and prosecuting scientists and others including major corporations who question global warming. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 17% favor such prosecutions. Fifteen percent (15%) are undecided. (To see survey question wording, click here.)

Just over one-in-four Democrats (27%), however, favor prosecuting those who don’t agree with global warming. Only 11% of Republicans and 12% of voters not affiliated with either major party agree.

After all, just 24% of all voters believe the scientific debate about global warming is over, although that’s up from 20% in July of last year. Unchanged is the 63% who say that debate is not done yet. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Among voters who believe scientists have made up their minds about global warming, one-in-four (24%) favor prosecuting those who question that theory, but 64% are opposed.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on November 9-10, 2015 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

Eighty-seven percent (87%) of voters describe their constitutionally guaranteed freedom of speech as Very Important.

But only 20% of Americans think they have true freedom of speech today. Seventy-three percent (73%) think instead that Americans have to be careful not to say something politically incorrect to avoid getting in trouble.

Most voters across nearly all demographic categories agree that the scientific debate about global warming is not over.

Most also oppose prosecuting those who don’t agree that global warming is real, although voters under 40 are more supportive of prosecution than their elders are.

A voter’s level of education seems to make little difference generally speaking to his or her responses to these questions.

Among voters who Strongly Approve of the job President Obama is doing, 29% favor prosecuting those who disagree with global warming. Eighty-one percent (81%) of those who Strongly Disapprove of the president’s job performance oppose such prosecutions.

The number of voters who consider global warming a serious problem has ranged from 53% to 66% in regular surveys for the past six years.

But 41% say they are willing to pay nothing more in higher taxes and utility costs annually to generate cleaner energy and fight global warming. Another 24% are willing to spend only $100 more per year.

Fifty-six percent (56%) of voters believe the president's new plan to limit greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants will increase energy costs in the United States, and only 33% think it will do a lot to fight global warming.

Citing global warming concerns, the president last week rejected the building of the Keystone XL pipeline from western Canada to Texas despite bipartisan congressional support for the project. Most voters have supported building the Keystone pipeline in surveys since 2011, saying it would be good for the economy.

When given a choice, 63% say creating jobs is more important than taking steps to try to stop global warming, consistent with regular surveying for over two years now.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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