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Posted on Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 9:43 a.m.

Fears & hopes: What's your biggest fear or hope?

By Wayne Baker

1105ov rescue from HMS Bounty II after Hurricane Sandy.jpg
Editor's note: This post is part of a series by Dr. Baker on Our Values about core American values. This week Dr. Baker is discussing election fears.

What’s you biggest fear — or hope — as we head to the polls tomorrow? Is it the outcome of the election itself? Or something else?

For many, monster storm Sandy made global warming and its consequences their biggest concern. The devastating storm prompted New York City Mayor Bloomberg to endorse Obama, saying that the president was the best leader to deal with climate change.

Bloomberg, a billionaire, used to be a Democrat but switched to the GOP when he first ran for mayor. In an unprecedented third term, the mayor became an Independent, slamming both parties for their failure to address the nation’s pressing problems.

Two-thirds of Americans (67 percent) believe that there’s solid evidence of global warming, according to a survey conducted in early October by the Pew Research Center. I’m sure the figure would be even higher if the survey were taken today.

Belief in global warming has been on a downward trend, however. In 2006, 77 percent of Americans said they believed the evidence. More immediate concerns about the economy pushed diminished worries about the environment.

Partisan politics play a key role in beliefs about global warming. Eight-five percent of Democrats believe the evidence about the warming trend, compared to only 48 percent of Republicans. Independents fall between these two, with 65 percent saying they believe that the world is getting warmer.

The partisan divide is especially sharp when it comes to beliefs about the role of human activity in climate change. Only 16 percent of conservative Republicans say human activity contributes to global warming, and only 38 percent of more moderate Republicans say the same. In contrast, 77 percent of liberal Democrats believe that humans are a major contributing factor, and 51 percent of more moderate Democrats say the same.

Did super storm Sandy change your beliefs about global warming?

Will consequences of global warming factor into your vote tomorrow?

What's your biggest fear?

Wayne Baker is a sociologist on the faculty of the University of Michigan Ross School of Business. Baker blogs daily at Our Values and can be reached at or on Facebook.



Mon, Nov 5, 2012 : 3:33 p.m.

I'm scared of clowns, personally..... Yes....that means most politicians scare me...