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.