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New Hampshire Residents Concerned About Climate Change

Survey shows range of attitude

CONCORD, N.H., October 30, 2007—Most New Hampshire residents say they are concerned about climate change, and many will be listening carefully to presidential candidates’ positions regarding climate change when it comes time to vote, according to a poll commissioned by the Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests and conducted by the UNH Survey Center in September.

Overall, 76% of all respondents reported that they were “very concerned” (48%) or “somewhat concerned” (28%) about climate change. Thirteen percent say they are “not very concerned”, 11% “not concerned at all”, and 1% “don’t know”.

“Our goal in commissioning the survey was to better understand the prevailing attitudes in New Hampshire regarding the climate change,” said Jack Savage, vp for communications/outreach for the Forest Society. “Given that New Hampshire’s forests can effect and are affected by climate change, we felt it was important to learn what people know and how they feel about it.”

Those respondents with postgraduate education are among the most likely to be “very concerned”—68%; approximately 40% of respondents with high school, some college or college graduates say they are “very concerned”. Females are also more likely to be “very concerned” (54%) than males (40%). [Of 507 respondents, 246—or 48.5%--were male.]

When the answers are broken down by political affiliation the results varied considerably. Among respondents who identified themselves as Republicans, only 22% said they were “very concerned” while 71% of those who identified themselves as Democrats were “very concerned”. Overall, 58% of Republicans said they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned, compared with 93% of Democrats. Among self-identified Independents, 71% were “very” or “somewhat” concerned about climate change.

A similar difference exists when New Hampshire adults are asked whether they think the predictions of climate change are likely to be accurate. In general, one quarter of respondents to the poll say they think the predictions are “very accurate”, while 45 percent think such predictions are “mostly accurate”. However, among Democrats 39% think such predictions are very accurate and 52% think they are “mostly accurate”. Among Republican respondents, only 5% say they think predictions of the effects of climate change are accurate, with 37% saying such predictions are “mostly accurate”. More than half (58%) of self-identified Republicans say that predictions of the effects of climate change are ‘somewhat exaggerated” (36%) or “very exaggerated” (22%).

Nearly half (45%) of New Hampshire adults get most of their information about climate change from television, with 22% getting most of their information from newspapers and magazines. The internet was cited by 12% of respondents. Only 3% said that they get most of their information about climate change from “…movies like Al Gore’s ‘An Inconvenient Truth’.

The poll also asked respondents how important a presidential candidate’s position on climate change will be in their decision on who they will vote for in 2008. Overall, 70% said a candidate’s position will be “very important” (32%) or “somewhat important” (38%), with 89% percent of Democrats saying that a candidate’s position on climate change will be “very important” (47%) or “somewhat important” (42%). Among Republicans, 49% said a candidate’s position will be “very important” (16%) or “somewhat important” (33%), reflecting the partisan disparity in attitudes toward climate change.

The climate change questions were included as part of the quarterly Granite State Poll of 508 New Hampshire adults by the UNH Survey Center in September 2007. The margin of sampling error for the survey is +/- 4.4%. For a copy of the technical report about how the sample was selected, please contact Jack Savage at the Forest Society (jsavage@forestsociety.org).

The Society for the Protection of New Hampshire Forests (www.forestsociety.org) was founded in 1901 to protect the state’s most important landscapes and promote the wise use of its renewable natural resources. Today, the Forest Society is made up of more than 10,000 member households and owns 154 reservations that encompass over 43,000 acres in communities across the state. In addition, the Forest Society holds more than 550 conservation easements on an additional 100,000 acres, and conducts ongoing programs in research, advocacy, land protection, education, land management and sustainable forestry.

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