Friday, April 9, 2010

Rob Maris: Climatic/Politic Survey Analysis

Analysis by Rob Maris

From march 23rd until april 1st, a survey has been run where focus was on getting an idea of correlationship between climatic viewpoint and political viewpoint of Klimazwiebel readers.

Note: the complete survey text can be found down below.

The survey ended up with 157 responses, of which 14 were filtered out due to several criteria (e.g. apparent doubles). On the other hand some other responses have “survived” in the final data set despite some doubt about their seriousness. This applies for example to some votes towards “funding source” - I think this whole question is susceptible to joke voting. But this question was also included to enrich statistics analysis opportunities and to increase the fun factor of this survey.

Further introductory remark: Klimazwiebel is a good place for conducting surveys of this kind. There are many web sites out there which possess focus on climatic issues. However, most of them are advocative nature, and may tendentially be attended by people who want to find their viewpoint confirmed. Probably klimazwiebel is the only site which is almost equally well attended by skeptics and warmists etc. Another factor that may help retrieve quite useable data is the good geographical distribution of survey attendees. It's fun to look at this image which is produced by the survey machine:

Correlation figures

Regarding the survey results let us first have a look at correlation figures, the primary goal of this survey. I only present correlation data between Question 1a and Question 2 (political left/right correlated to climatic position), since Question 1b (progressive/conservative) did not show up any significant correlationship either related to the left/right question or related to the climatic question.

Correlation over all: 0,32
This is quite weak, but significant, and anyhow a positive correlation, i.e.: low probability that skeptics are the kind of people with politically “left=strong government” viewpoint and vice versa – which in some concern shows that climatic viewpoint is (still) a matter of belief founded in “preset” personal attitudes/preferences.

Some partial correlation figures:
The first 60 respondents: 0,43 (first two days from survey start)
Last 60 respondents: 0,18
I mention this because it may be relevant as follows: the first respondents should be frequent readers of klimazwiebel, while later respondents may well have other voting “behaviour”.
More filtering:
Only Anglos: 0,1
Only Euros: 0,42
(if there is any representativeness in these two figures, it would be worth a further investigation)
In the early stage of developing this survey it has been suggested that more extreme positions could show up more correlation. When we leave out all ...
... lukewarmers in the data set, we obtain 0,39
... political “mid”people, we obtain 0,36

Filtering until only extreme left/extreme right resp. alarmist/denier are in the data set makes no sense – simply not enough data samples. The same applies to other data subsets.

Distribution Summary

Prior to presenting some interesting details, the distribution data is presented in following table which also summarizes the questions and its possible answers.

Question 2 offered 6 answering options. Option 6, “opportunist” is not in the table above. Three responses were present with this option ticked. These responses aren't part of the correlation figures above.
Excerpt data shown hereafter is presented as simple rows of rounded percentage values in the same order as the table order for each row above.

Some distribution subsets

Question 1a – political spectrum (left - - - right)
Anglos only:      0        16      29      40      13
Euros only :      6        24      38      25      6
Question 2 – climatic position (alarmist - - - denier)
Anglos only:      5        13      37      40      5
Euros only :      4        23      33      28      9,  and 5% opportunists
These figures confirm what other sources also say: tendentially there are more sceptics in anglo-american environments compared to continental Europe. Note: at first glance the anglo distribution looks like there is significant correlation – it has been verified: 0,1 is correct for this data set.

A word about Question 4 (profession/funding)

I guess some readers are interested in a little bit statistic figures of responses to this question in relation to political and climatic position. Once again please consider especially these matters with a little bit of salt.
Those who ticked...
… professionally involved, no funding (13% of totals – see distribution summary) checked as follows:
Question 1a      5,5     44      22      22      5,5
Question 2        11      44      33      11      0
… professionally involved, and related to some or more funding (subgroups are comparable):
Question 1a      20      27      47      7        0
Question 2        0        53      47      0        0
… funding source:
Question 1a      0        0        20      40      40
Question 2        20      0        20      40      20
This latter subset is the only subset where question 1b is answered towards conservative.

What can be seen is this: the more professionally involved respondents clearly have a “warmist” tendency compared to the overall figure. There are no deniers at all, while “funding source” typos have a clearly sceptic tendency while politically on the right side of the political spectrum (note: 5 respondents here).
– Rob Maris

Survey text

1. Political Viewpoint
(1a) A meaningful description (we believe) of the political spectrum is as follows:
left: „welfare state policy with more or less government control/regulationship“
right: „free market economy combined with little government“. I consider myself as: (left - - - right)

(1b) Since several sources suggests a two-dimensional political landscape, we have added this dimension with the poll. It emphasizes the term pair progressive/ conservative.
progressive: „liberal attitude and values, e.g. tolerant and liberal sex viewpoints“
conservative: „more traditional attitude and values“. I consider myself as: (progressive - - conservative)

2. Climatic position
Please select according to the following spectrum (you may have attended the previous poll; because of correlation we need repeated entries, here with slightly modified terms used):
1 alarmist
2 warmist
3 lukewarmer (CO2 causes limited warming which may or may not be damaging)
4 skeptic
5 denier
6 opportunist (environmentalist - "welcomes" AGW-related funds for getting more "green" techs)

3. Society context
This may be treated as optional. Answering this may help us to cope with probable different interpretations of Question 1.
1 Anglo (nothern America, Australia and UK)
2 Latin (southern America)
3 Continental Europe, Russia
4 Asian
5 African

4. Funding context
Often, it is suggested that active sorts of climatic debate contributors (whether alarmist or denier typos) possess their rock solid viewpoint because of a relation to funding.
1 I am layman or professional without relationship to funding, simply interested.
2 I am more or less professionally concerned with climatic issues, but not funding related.
3 Climatic related projects (science or lobby) are backed by some funding.
4 Climatic related projects backed by substantial funding.
5 I am or I represent a funding resource.


P Gosselin said...

Anglo sceptism has everything to do with media diversity and openness.
The German media are 99% one-sided, with some people even freaking out over the meager 1% the sceptic side manages to scrape up.
Granted outlets like the ZDF have done a couple of token reports - but all very late, well behind the curve (It took them about a month just to respond to Climategate).

The results of the survey don't surprise me as a whole. There's diminishing alarmism and growing scepticism.
Some strident scientists in Germany (no names) are calling out loudly for the filtering of sceptic views. But this is nonsense. Much of the rest of the world is presenting both sides in the spirit of openness. Germany risks becoming a dark state.
My children still have to watch Al Gore's movie at the Gymnasium. Unbelievable darkness.

Alex Harvey said...

Hi all,

I believe (struggling to remember so many weeks ago!) I was represented in this sample and if so I would have stated that I am politically liberal and somewhat skeptical on the science (I can't quite tell what the difference is between a luke warmer and a skeptic to be honest). I would have stated that as a layperson I have no relationship to funding, and I live in Australia. I don't really consider my position to be unusual amongst political liberals as I find the same skepticism amongst friends. I also recall from the MIT Climategate debate, Kerry Emmanuel, the warmer, made a point of emphasising his political conservatism whereas Richard Lindzen is supposed to be a Democrat.

Hans has mentioned above that this was just for fun and it's noted that there weren't enough respondents.

I'm curious, are there serious studies like this in the literature?


klee12 said...

Just a note. In the U.S. the news does not feature any in-depth news about climate change. It covered Copenhagen, but I didn't see much about climategate. There may be some leaning toward the climate change side but not the coverage in England.


Unknown said...

Only one response from Asia? Please do not take it as something representative.

Part of the reason why accesses from Asia are few may be the national firewall of China. When I was in China the last time I could not connect to any "" sites that I knew. I am not sure whether those sites were blocked nationally. My experience is limited to a certain hotel in a Chinese town in October-November 2009 (before Klimazwiebel started, also before Google said they were going to leave China).