Perceptions of Others' Support for Action
By a wide margin, most Americans believe they are more supportive of taking steps to reduce global warming than the average American. Thus it appears the public underestimates the public's support for taking such steps.
Respondents were asked whether they were more or less supportive of taking steps to reduce global warming that the average American. Two thirds said they were more supportive. Only one third said they were less supportive. Similar numbers were found in 1998.
This suggests the public underestimates public support for taking such steps. If the public perceived itself correctly, the percentage saying they are more supportive than average would be equal to those who say they are less supportive. But in fact, the ratio is about three-to-one in favor of the perception that the self is more supportive. This dynamic may help explain why many policymakers and media analysts seem to assume that the public is less supportive of taking steps to address the problem of global warming than appears to actually be the case.