37 Hofstra L. Rev. 1017 (2008-2009)
The Social Bases of Climate Change Knowledge, Concern, and Policy Support in the U.S. General Public

handle is hein.journals/hoflr37 and id is 1039 raw text is: THE SOCIAL BASES OF CLIMATE CHANGE
KNOWLEDGE, CONCERN, AND POLICY SUPPORT
IN THE U.S. GENERAL PUBLIC
Aaron M McCright*
This Article analyzes the social bases of climate change knowledge,
concern, and policy support, with an emphasis on examining the role of
political identification (political ideology and party affiliation). Using
survey data from eight nationally representative samples from 2001-
2008, this study tests the generalizability of earlier results in this
literature. Several findings from past research receive support, though a
few-primarily those dealing with demographic characteristics-are
challenged here. Of particular interest, political liberals and Democrats
express more scientifically accurate beliefs and greater concern about
climate change than do political conservatives and Republicans. Also,
greater self-reported understanding translates into increased knowledge
and concern for liberals and Democrats and decreased knowledge and
concern for conservatives and Republicans. Political ideology and party
affiliation have both direct and indirect effects on climate policy
support, with liberals and Democrats expressing greater support for
several climate policy proposals than conservatives and Republicans.
This Article ends with a brief discussion of the implications of these
trends in climate change public opinion for implementing effective
climate policy.
* Assistant Professor of Sociology in Lyman Briggs College and the Department of
Sociology, Michigan State University, 2005-Present. Ph.D., Sociology, Washington State
University, 2002; M.A., Sociology, Washington State University, 1998; B.A., Sociology, University
of Northern Iowa, 1996. Thanks are extended to Riley Dunlap and the Gallup Organization for
making the data available for analysis. Direct correspondence to: Aaron M. McCright; E-185
Holmes Hall; Lyman Briggs College; Michigan State University; East Lansing, MI 48825-1107
(mccright@msu.edu).

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