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Climate Change in the American Mind: October 2017


4. Personal and Social Engagement with Global Warming

4.1. Nearly four in ten Americans say they discuss global warming with family and friends “often” or “occasionally.”

Thirty-eight percent of Americans say they discuss global warming with family and friends at least occasionally, an increase of 5 percentage points since our last survey in May 2017.

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4.2. Half of Americans say they hear about global warming in the media at least once a month; one in four say they hear people they know talking about it at least once a month.

Half of Americans (51%) say they hear about global warming in the media once a month or more frequently, an increase of 8 percentage points since our last survey in May 2017. About one in three Americans (32%) say they hear about global warming in the media only several times a year or less, and an additional 3% say they never hear about it.

One in four Americans (25%, +6 percentage points) say they hear people they know talking about global warming once a month or more. In contrast, 45% say they hear people they know talking about it only several times a year or less, and about one in five (18%, a decrease of 10 percentage points) say they never hear people they know talk about global warming.

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4.3. One in three Americans say they share news stories about global warming on social media.

One in three Americans (34%) say they share news stories about global warming on social media, including one in five (20%) who say they share stories every few weeks and 14% who say they do so once a week or more often. Two in three Americans (65%) say they never share a news story, headline, or story about global warming on social media.

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4.4. The issue of global warming is personally important to two in three Americans.

Two in three Americans (67%) say the issue of global warming is either “extremely” (12%), “very” (19%), or “somewhat” (37%) important to them personally, the highest levels since our first survey in 2008. One in three (33%) say global warming is either “not too” (19%) or “not at all” (14%) important personally.

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4.5. More than half of Americans have thought about global warming at least “some.”

More than half of Americans say they have thought about global warming before today either “a lot” (22%, four percentage points higher than in May 2017) or “some” (32%). Fewer say they have thought about global warming just “a little” (32%) or “not at all” (14%).

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