Is it hot in here or is it just me? Temperature anomalies and political polarization over global warming in the American public
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Do temperature anomalies affect political polarization over global warming? Americans’ attitudes about global warming are affected by whether they reside in states experiencing unseasonably warm (or cold) temperatures versus those experiencing milder temperatures. Specifically, in terms of causal attribution, political polarization over global warming is more pronounced in states experiencing temperature anomalies. Using pooled data collected during 2013–2014, this study utilizes logistic regression to explore how temperature anomalies exacerbate the political polarization among Americans over perceptions of whether global warming impacts are immediately evident as well as the attribution of global warming to human activity. Results indicate that very cold or warm temperature anomalies from a 5-year baseline predict perceptions of global warming impacts and exacerbate existing political polarization over the causal attribution of global warming. These effects are particularly noticeable among Democrats. This analysis provides a contribution to understanding how temperature anomalies from the recent past shape the sociophysical context of global warming attitudes.
I thank James Krueger, Dave Siemers, and three anonymous reviewers for comments on earlier drafts. All errors remain my own.
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