Rereading Opinion Polls on Climate Change in the UK Press

Corina Höppner


This article extends the research on media communication of climate change by exploring UK newspapers’ representations of public opinion polls. Based on a rereading of main stories on opinion polls between 1989 and 2008, the article shows how polls have been employed by “prestige” newspapers and tabloids to (a) close or keep open the public debate on the reality of anthropogenic climate change, and (b) to propagate favored responses to climate change at the policy and individual level. Furthermore, newspapers' representations of these opinion polls have conveyed questionable images of a denying, apathetic, and hypocritical public. The article concludes that such images potentially compromise the development of new links among citizens, scientists, and politicians and efforts to widen public engagement with climate change.

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