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date: 02 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

In political discourse and news coverage of climate change, nationally representative opinion surveys have come to dominate how people talk about the relationship between climate change and the public. The unfortunate tendency, however, is for survey research to be interpreted somewhat simplistically, with scant consideration for a respondent's social context or background and without regard to important communication behaviours and areas of knowledge. Examining the case of the United States, this article describes the tail ends of public perspectives on climate change, examining the nature of an ‘issue public’ working to mobilize concern and a climate denial movement organized against policy action. The studies this article reviews along with others from the growing literature in the area reveal a diversity of factors that shape individual perceptions and behaviour relative to climate change.

Keywords: public opinion, participation, mass opinion, expert opinion, nationally representative surveys

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