Party polarisation on global warming

The latest Morgan Poll on global warming, taken in early December, shows very similar results to the 11-12 November poll. 31% (up 1%) say that concerns about global warming are exaggerated, 50% (down 2%) say that if we don’t act now it will be too late, and 14% (unchanged) say it is already too late.

Though a month is a short time period for public opinion to change, three things have happened that might have affected the results. The first is that the local debate about the ETS and the run-up to the Copenhagen conference have raised the issue’s profile, so more voters may have engaged with the debate and formed or changed their opinion. The second is that ‘Climategate’ has given the sceptics momentum. And the third is that with the Opposition moving to a clear rejection of the ETS, the issue may have picked up more partisanship than before (ie, partisans will go with their party).

Of these possibilities, the Morgan Poll provides most support for the last. Since the November poll, the proportion of Liberals saying that concerns are exaggerated has gone up 5 percentage points to 51%. However, the proportion of Labor respondents saying that concerns are exaggerated went down 4 percentage points to 14%. Though we can’t rule out some issue salience or Climategate effects, these changes look most like the issue becoming even more polarised on party lines.

6 Responses to “Party polarisation on global warming

  • 1
    Ute Man
    December 15th, 2009 00:23

    At what point would Andrew Norton abandon the Liberal party like Andrew Elder has. Surely the Abbott inspired lunacy that encouraged Barnaby Joyce to publically voice his CEC conspiracies was a breaking point for anybody who even pretended to be rational.

    What would it take? Surely, at this point, it is impossible for the “last classical liberal” to deny the four-square conservatism (or idiocy, I can’t decide) of Abbott and his unannounced, unfunded policies to continue to support this party. Or are you just another prisoner to tribalism?

  • 2
    Rafe Champion
    December 15th, 2009 09:32

    It will be tragic of the climate debate is run on party lines. When are the skeptics in the ALP going to honour their obligations to the truth and their constituency and speak up?

  • 3
    Paul Norton
    December 16th, 2009 10:38

    I’ve just posted at LP on the same topic:

    Rafe’s question reminds me of a discussion on Andrew Bolt’s blog two years ago in which posters were invited to speculate on who might be the closet sceptics in Federal Labor. The guesses ranged from the completely correct (Gary Grey) to the highly likely (Martin Ferguson) to the superficially plausible but probably wrong (Craig Emerson) to the loony (Peter Garrett), but what I found particularly interesting was the large number of nominations of Lindsay Tanner. Tanner is one of the strongest environmentalists in the current Government, and there is no basis anywhere in the record for thinking he is a sceptic on the specific issue of climate change. One can only surmise that because of Tanner’s profile as a critic of Left orthodoxies on a range of issues people jumped to the conclusion that he would be a climate contrarian.

  • 4
    Paul Norton
    December 16th, 2009 10:40

    I told a lie at #3. Nobody nominated Gary Grey, surprisingly enough.

    Here’s the link to the Bolt blog.

  • 5
    JC.
    December 16th, 2009 14:54

    Ute man:

    Barnaby’s policies are really not that much different to the Green party’s economic polices except with an agrarian socialist bent.

    Furthermore I haven’t seen the same people that complain about Joyce saying anything about the fascist-green extremist the Green party ran in Higgins. In short the left wing has nothing to preach against Joyce when a decent slab of the left supports Hamilton and we have a PM that has yet to enact one single policy that is market friendly and could be deemed as economic reform.

    The coalition appear to have a trog in their parties whereas the entire Green party and a huge rump of the labor left are worse than Joyce. So pound for pound who wins in the loon stakes?

  • 6
    Andrew Norton » Blog Archive » Support for ETS slips below 50%
    January 15th, 2010 17:19

    [...] the poll in Crikey suggests that the shift is due to the growing partisanship of this issue that I blogged about last month. They don’t give a number for Coalition supporters, but if as Crikey says Labor and Green [...]