SURVEY RESULTS: Elon Poll-N.C. Resident’s Thoughts on Climate Change

This study shows how much work we have ahead of us to continue to engage, educate and answer questions regarding climate change.

Excerpt from study below.
In a series of questions regarding the environment, North Carolinian's are generally satisfied with the environmental conditions in the state. Forty-five percent of respondents rate environmental conditions good or very good.

Respondents were divided on the causes of climate change:
- Is climate change the result of human activity or of natural patterns in the earth's environment?
Result of human activity: 35 percent
Result of natural patterns: 44 percent
Both: 18 percent

- Are statements about climate change generally exaggerated, underestimated or correct?
Generally exaggerated: 42 percent
Generally correct: 31 percent
Generally underestimated: 21 percent

Other environmental topics included:
Water pollution and contamination tops the list of “the most important environmental issue” among North Carolinian's with nearly 18 percent indicating it was the most important environmental issue. Air pollution and recycling are next on the list of important environmental issues, with 11 and nine percent of respondents respectively identifying these issues.

Citizens continue to be concerned with water supply levels in the state, with 62 percent saying they are very concerned with water supply levels. Nearly three-quarters of respondents (75 percent) continue to reduce water use in their households. Similar to practices during the height of the drought conditions across the state in 2008, nearly half said they are continuing to conserve water by taking shorter showers, not running water while brushing their teeth, and limiting their number of laundry loads. A significant number of citizens, 80 percent, think water conservation is now a long-term issue compared to the 68 percent two years ago.

Poll respondents support efforts to promote renewable energy sources. Nearly 80 percent favor new wind energy facilities in the North Carolina mountains or on the coast, and more than 83 percent favor construction of solar farms in the state. At the same time, more than half oppose using wood, trees, leaves or other forest products as fuel to produce energy.

Conservation of open space land is another area explored on the survey. Those polled were somewhat divided on their perspective of open space land conservation: 36 percent of North Carolinians think the state is not conserving enough open land space, while 30 percent believe the state is conserving about the right amount of open land space and seven percent believe the state is conserving too much open land space.

For more information on this poll, visit www.elon.edu/elonpoll.

*The poll, conducted Feb. 22-25, 2010, surveyed 508 North Carolina residents and has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.4 percentage points. The sample is of the population in general, with numbers that include both landlines and cellular phones.

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