Rural Nebraskans are less likely to believe human activity is a significant cause of climate change this year than they were five years ago and are more likely to think current climate change is due to normal climate patterns. Fifty-four percent of rural Nebraskans this year agree with the statement that “human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change,” compared to 65 percent in 2008. And, fewer rural Nebraskans this year agree with the statement “global climate change is something people can control,” 41 percent compared to 51 percent in 2008. More rural Nebraskans this year agree that current climate change is due to normal climate patterns as compared to five years ago, 47 percent compared to 37 percent in 2008. Fifty-nine percent of rural Nebraskans this year agree with the statement “increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere will, if unchecked, lead to global climate change,” compared to 67 percent five years ago.

Fewer rural Nebraskans this year believe we will have to change our lifestyles to reduce energy consumption as compared to five years ago and fewer rural Nebraskans think it is their responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global climate change. Seventy percent of rural Nebraskans this year agree with the statement “we will have to change our lifestyles to reduce energy consumption,” compared to 84 percent in 2008. And, 59 percent in 2013 agree with the statement “it is my responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global climate change,” compared to 70 percent in 2008.

Fewer rural Nebraskans this year believe that global climate change requires immediate action by the government as compared to five years ago. Just over one-third (38%) of rural Nebraskans in 2013 agree with the statement “global climate change requires immediate action by the government,” compared to 53 percent in 2008. And more rural Nebraskans this year agree that too much fuss is made about global climate change compared to five years ago, 36 percent and 30 percent respectively.

Fewer rural Nebraskans this year think firms and government researchers will develop new technologies to solve the problem as compared to five years ago. One-third (33%) of rural Nebraskans this year agree with that statement, compared to 42 percent in 2008.

 


Agreement with Statements about Global Climate Change, 2008 and 2013

 

2008

    2013

 Increased carbon dioxide and other gases released into the atmosphere will, if unchecked, lead to global climate change.

67%

59%

 Firms and government researchers will develop new technologies to solve the problem.

42

33

We will have to change our lifestyles to reduce energy consumption.

84

70

 We will learn to live with and adapt to a changing climate.

73

72

 Global climate change is a problem but the U.S. won’t do anything about it.

21

21

 We will do nothing since global climate change is not a problem.

11

15

 Human activity, including industry and transportation, is a significant cause of climate change.

65

54

 Global climate change requires immediate action by the government.

53

38

 It is my responsibility to help reduce the impacts of global climate change.

70

59

 Global climate change is something people can control.

51

41

 Too much fuss is made about global climate change.

30

36

 Current climate change is due to normal climate patterns.

37

47

 Agriculture is a major contributor of greenhouse gases.

17

15

 

 

Survey Methods

This study is based on 2,317 responses from Nebraskans living in the 84 non-metropolitan counties in the state.[1] 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.

[1] 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.