Gallup Poll: Good News for Climate Change–or Not?

 Is the latest Gallup poll good news for negotiators at the Copenhagen climate summit? It found that 55 percent of Americans support signing a binding treaty that would commit the United States to reducing its greenhouse gas emissions significantly. Thirty-eight percent give it a thumb’s down. The 17-point difference is a decent-sized margin, though not a slam-dunk. But the poll does give politicians reason to think twice before backing binding cuts. 

Almost two-thirds of Americans do not believe that laws designed to reduce global warming will help the economy, and 42 percent think such laws will harm the US economy. And when it comes to priorities, Americans want a focus on jobs. Asked which should be a higher priority for President Barack Obama—improving the economy or reducing emissions—85 percent predictably picked the economy. Advocates of climate change action maintain that emissions cuts can boost the economy. But that message may not yet have been absorbed by the American public.

Gallup concludes:

President Obama has a fine line to walk in Copenhagen—living up to his long-standing commitment to be a global leader in reducing greenhouse gas emissions while staying mindful of the pitchforks that could be raised at home if he is perceived to be spending too much time on the issue, or selling the U.S. economy down the nearby Gulf Stream.

The climate change summit is hanging from that tight wire.

You can follow David Corn’s postings and media appearances via Twitter.


Mother Jones was founded as a nonprofit in 1976 because we knew corporations and the wealthy wouldn't fund the type of hard-hitting journalism we set out to do.

Today, reader support makes up about two-thirds of our budget, allows us to dig deep on stories that matter, and lets us keep our reporting free for everyone. If you value what you get from Mother Jones, please join us with a tax-deductible donation today so we can keep on doing the type of journalism 2019 demands.

  • David Corn

    David Corn is Mother Jones' Washington bureau chief and an on-air analyst for MSNBC. He is the co-author (with Michael Isikoff) of Russian Roulette: The Inside Story of Putin’s War on America and the Election of Donald Trump. He is the author of three New York Times bestsellers, Showdown, Hubris (with Isikoff), and The Lies of George W. Bush, as well as the e-book, 47 Percent: Uncovering the Romney Video that Rocked the 2012 Election. For more of his stories, click here. He's also on Twitter and Facebook.