NYT Gins Up Poll as Excuse to Put 'Climate Change' on Front Page, Call GOP 'Out of Step'

January 31st, 2015 10:44 PM

Not content with reporting the news, the New York Times on Saturday tried to manufacture its own, issuing a "climate change" poll with an environmental group, and putting it on the front page as news in order to push the paper's own left-wing alarmist view of global warming.

Coral Davenport and Marjorie Connolly teamed up for "Half in G.O.P. Say They Back Climate Action -- Poll Finds Candidates at Odds With Voters."

An overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action to curb global warming, according to a poll conducted by The New York Times, Stanford University and the nonpartisan environmental research group Resources for the Future.

In a finding that could have implications for the 2016 presidential campaign, the poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. They were less likely to vote for candidates who questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming.

Among Republicans, 48 percent say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change, a result that Jon A. Krosnick, a professor of political science at Stanford University and an author of the survey, called “the most powerful finding” in the poll. Many Republican candidates question the science of climate change or do not publicly address the issue.

Nonetheless, 47 percent of Republicans still said they believed that policies designed to curb global warming would hurt the economy.

Although the poll found that climate change was not a top issue in determining a person’s vote, a candidate’s position on climate change influences how a person will vote. For example, 67 percent of respondents, including 48 percent of Republicans and 72 percent of independents, said they were less likely to vote for a candidate who said that human-caused climate change is a hoax.

The results came as climate change was emerging as a source of debate in the coming presidential campaign.

In 2012, all the Republican presidential candidates but one -- Jon M. Huntsman Jr. -- questioned or denied the science that determined that humans caused global warming, and opposed policies to curb greenhouse gas emissions. But over the past year, President Obama has proposed a series of Environmental Protection Agency regulations intended to reduce carbon pollution from coal-fired power plants, which Republicans in Congress have attacked as a “war on coal.”

But those positions appear to be out of step with the majority of the electorate

Davenport dug up an alarmist argument from a "Republican homemaker" in New Jersey, based on a tree falling on her house, and treated it with respect. The Koch Brothers, the paper's favorite right-of-center villain, also made a cameo.

Aliza Strauss, a Republican homemaker in Teaneck, N.J., said in a follow-up interview that climate change had affected her personally and she was concerned about the effect of climate change in coming years. “A tree fell on my house during Hurricane Sandy, and in the future, it might be worse,” she said. “The stronger storms and the flooding will erode the coastline, and that is a big concern for me.”

Jason Becker, a self-identified independent and stay-at-home father in Ocoee, Fla., said that although climate change was not his top concern, a candidate who questioned global warming would seem out of touch.


But he said of climate change: “If someone feels it’s a hoax, they are denying the evidence out there. Many arguments can be made on both sides of the fence. But to just ignore it completely indicates a close-minded individual, and I don’t want a close-minded individual in a seat of political power.”

Political analysts say the problem for many Republicans is how to carve out a position on climate change that does not turn off voters like Mr. Becker, but that also does not alienate powerful conservative campaign donors. In particular, advocacy groups funded by the billionaire brothers Charles G. and David H. Koch have vowed to ensure that Republican candidates who support climate change action will lose in primary elections.

As a result, many Republicans have begun responding to questions about climate change by saying “I’m not a scientist” or some variant, as a way to avoid taking a definite position.

Davenport also pushed climate change on the Times' front page last December.

Before that, she had mocked the conservative stance on global warming, also harping on various GOP politicians who have said “I’m not a scientist,” allegedly to avoid committing to a position on the politically perilous issue of global warming. Davenport also exulted in the possibility that the GOP's stance on climate change could doom the party in 2016. In Davenport's world, there has been no stubborn "global warming hiatus" over the last 15 years, with temperatures refusing to rise as climate models insisted they would.