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The Sciences

Is the Planet Warming? New research suggests the answer could depend on wording

The IntersectionBy Sheril KirshenbaumMarch 4, 2011 11:00 PM

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Taeggan Goddard over at Political Wire sent over this interesting piece on research out of The University of Michigan. A new study found that the language used to describe our warming planet may influence listeners' reactions. According to research by Schuldt, Konrath, and Schwarz, Republicans are less likely to say that global climate change is real when it's referred to as "global warming" (44.0%) instead of "climate change" (60.2%). Meanwhile, word choice does not seem to matter for Democrats. The investigators observed the partisan divide dropped from 42.9 percentage points when they used “global warming” to 26.2 percentage points when they used “climate change." In other words, language matters tremendously and the outcome of polls can be highly dependent upon it.

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