McCain's Supporters Distrust Him on Climate Change
Matthew C. Nisbet, Ph.D. is Associate Professor of Communication Studies, Public Policy, and Urban Affairs at Northeastern University. Nisbet studies the role of communication and advocacy in policymaking and public affairs, focusing on debates over over climate change, energy, and sustainability. Among awards and recognition, Nisbet has been a Visiting Shorenstein Fellow on Press, Politics, and Public Policy at Harvard University's Kennedy School of Government, a Health Policy Investigator at the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, and a Google Science Communication Fellow. In 2011, the editors at the journal Nature recommended Nisbet's research as “essential reading for anyone with a passing interest in the climate change debate,” and the New Republic highlighted his work as a “fascinating dissection of the shortcomings of climate activism."
How strong is the partisan divide on perceptions of global warming? The tendency for Republicans to doubt the reality of climate change means that they are even distrustful of John McCain's advocacy for action on the problem.
From a news release for a survey just released by Anthony Leiserowitz of Yale University and Edward Maibach of George Mason University:
In the race to earn undecided voters' trust on the issue of global warming, the two candidates are in a dead heat. Fifty percent of undecided voters trust John McCain as a source of information about global warming and 51 percent trust Barack Obama. "In the closing days of this election, each of these candidates still has an opportunity to make their best case on global warming to these critical voters," said Edward Maibach of George Mason University.
Surprisingly, however, 45 percent of McCain voters and 64 percent of those who are leaning toward McCain distrust their own preferred candidate as a source of information about global warming. By contrast, only 15 percent of Obama voters and 36 percent of those who are leaning toward Obama distrust their preferred candidate on the issue.
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A guide to making difficult conversations possible—and peaceful—in an increasingly polarized nation.
- How can we reach out to people on the other side of the divide? Get to know the other person as a human being before you get to know them as a set of tribal political beliefs, says Sarah Ruger. Don't launch straight into the difficult topics—connect on a more basic level first.
- To bond, use icebreakers backed by neuroscience and psychology: Share a meal, watch some comedy, see awe-inspiring art, go on a tough hike together—sharing tribulation helps break down some of the mental barriers we have between us. Then, get down to talking, putting your humanity before your ideology.
- The Charles Koch Foundation is committed to understanding what drives intolerance and the best ways to cure it. The foundation supports interdisciplinary research to overcome intolerance, new models for peaceful interactions, and experiments that can heal fractured communities. For more information, visit charleskochfoundation.org/courageous-collaborations.
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