When climate change belief was at its lowest, concerns about the economy were heightened and the country had gone through some incredible snowstorms and that may have chipped away at some belief in global warming, Leiserowitz said. Now the economy is better and the weather is warmer and worse in ways that seem easier to connect to climate change, he said.
“One extreme event after another after another,” Leiserowitz said. “People have noticed. … They’re connecting the dots between climate change and this long bout of extreme weather themselves.”
Thomas Coffey, 77, of Houston, said you can’t help but notice it.
“We use to have mild temperatures in the fall going into winter months. Now, we have summer temperatures going into winter,” Coffey said. “The whole Earth is getting warmer and when it gets warmer, the ice cap is going to melt and the ocean is going to rise.”
He also said that’s what he thinks is causing recent extreme weather.
“That’s why you see New York and New Jersey,” he said, referring to Superstorm Sandy and its devastation in late October. “When you have a flood like that, flooding tunnels like that. And look at how long the tunnel has been there.”
• Associated Press Director of Polling Jennifer Agiesta, News Survey Specialist Dennis Junius and writer Stacy A. Anderson contributed to this report.