Global Warming’s Six Americas in September 2012

Report Summary

In this update on Global Warming’s Six Americas, we report that the Alarmed have grown from 10 percent of the American adult population in 2010 to 16 percent in 2012. At the same time, the Dismissive have decreased in size, from 16 percent in 2010 to 8 percent in 2012.  The report focuses on how the six groups perceive the benefits and costs of reducing fossil fuel use or global warming; their support for different national climate change and energy policies; and their beliefs about who has influence over the decisions that elected officials make.


  • Reducing our dependence on foreign oil, creating green jobs and improving the economy are ranked among the top five benefits by all Six Americas.
  • Majorities of all Six Americas say the U.S. should increase its use of renewable energy.
  • In five of the six segments, larger proportions prefer to reduce, rather than increase fossil fuel use; only theDismissive prefer to increase the nation’s use of fossil fuels.
  • In every segment except the Dismissive, half or more favor the elimination of subsidies to the fossil fuel industry, and oppose the elimination of subsidies to renewable energy companies.
  • In five of the Six Americas, majorities believe that if they work with others who share their views, they can influence their elected representatives’ decisions.
  • All Six Americas, however, believe that people who share their own views on global warming have less influence than campaign contributors, fossil fuel companies, the media, etc.  People who share their views are, in fact, perceived as having the least political influence by every segment.
  • Five of the six segments believe that large campaign contributors have the strongest influence on elected officials.