How heat waves make it easier for people to believe in climate change

Heatwaves in Europe and in the United States may have done more than winter storms and hurricanes to convince Americans that climate change is real. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, half the public say they have personally felt the effects of climate change, which is up seven points from a year ago.

Republicans are 11 points more likely to say they have felt the effects of climate change personally than they were a year ago.

That matters. If you personally experienced any impact of severe weather, you are more likely to accept that climate change has happened and that human activity has caused it. Nearly nine in 10 American adults who say they have experienced the effects of climate change also say it is caused by human activity. Those who haven’t experienced the effects on a personal level, while not climate change deniers, put the principal cause outside of human control.