Most rural Nebraskans feel they understand global climate change issues fairly well or very well. Fifty-one percent of rural Nebraskans feel they understand these issues fairly well and 18 percent feel they understand them very well. Only five percent say they do not understand these issues at all and 20 percent do not understand them very well. Six percent are unsure.
How well do you feel you understand global climate change?
Most rural Nebraskans think global climate change is definitely happening or somewhat happening. Forty-eight percent of rural Nebraskans think global climate change is happening somewhat and one-quarter (25%) think it is definitely happening. Thirteen percent say it is definitely not happening and 14 percent answered don’t know.
Do you think that global climate change is happening?
Most rural Nebraskans believe that we need to make changes in our behaviors to reduce the impacts of global climate change. The majority of rural Nebraskans (70%) agree or strongly agree that “we will have to change our lifestyles to reduce energy consumption.” Only 13 percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement. And, 59 percent agree or strongly agree that “it is my responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global climate change.” Fourteen percent disagree or strongly disagree while 26 percent neither agree nor disagree.
Most rural Nebraskans think change is required to solve global climate change. Six in ten rural Nebraskans (60%) agree or strongly agree that “we will need to do something in my lifetime to deal with the adverse effects of global climate change.” Seventeen percent disagree or strongly disagree with the statement and just under one-quarter (23%) neither agree nor disagree. One-half of rural Nebraskans (50%) think we need to do something right now to deal with the adverse effects of global climate change. Twenty-one percent disagree or strongly disagree with that statement and 28 percent neither agree nor disagree.
Most rural Nebraskans believe that our actions contribute to global climate change. Fifty-four percent of rural Nebraskans agree or strongly agree that “human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change.” Twenty percent disagree or strongly disagree with the statement and 26 percent neither agree nor disagree.
Residents of the Southeast region are more likely than residents of other regions of the state to agree that human activity is a significant cause of climate change. Sixty percent of Southeast residents agree with this statement, compared to 44 percent of the Panhandle residents.
Belief that Human Activity is a Significant Cause of Climate Change by Region
One-half of rural Nebraskans are somewhat or very worried about global climate change, with 42 percent somewhat worried and eight percent are very worried. One-third (33%) are not very worried and 17 percent are not at all worried.
Worry about Global Climate Change
This study is based on 2,317 responses from Nebraskans living in the 84 non-metropolitan counties in the state. A self-administered questionnaire was mailed in March and April to 6,320 randomly selected households. Metropolitan counties not included in the sample were Cass, Dakota, Dixon, Douglas, Lancaster, Sarpy, Saunders, Seward and Washington.
A 37% response rate was achieved using the total design method (Dillman, 1978).
Since younger residents have typically been under-represented by survey respondents and older residents have been over-represented, weights were used to adjust the sample to match the age distribution in the nonmetropolitan counties in Nebraska (using U.S. Census figures from 2010).
The margin of error for this study is plus or minus two percent.
 In the spring of 2013, the Grand Island area (Hall, Hamilton, Howard and Merrick Counties) was designated a metropolitan area. The mailing list for this survey was already purchased prior to this designation so those four counties were included in our sample and in the data presented here.
For more information about the Nebraska Rural Poll, click here.
The complete report can be viewed here.