A couple weeks ago I posted a satirical essay called “New Global Warming Data Reveals Accurate ‘Hockey Stick’ Graph,” featuring a chart in the shape of the infamous “hockey stick” — measuring not global warming itself but rather skepticism over global warming.
It was all in good fun, and quickly spread around the Internet far and wide. Needless to say, the “data” underlying the parody was all made up off the top of my head as pure satire, as is plainly obvious from the graph itself.
Little did I know at the time, however, that the Gallup polling organization really has been tracking skepticism about global warming, ever since 1998, with legitimate public opinion surveys. And just yesterday they released the results of their latest poll, which (unsurprisingly) reveals a drastic recent uptick in doubts about global warming among the American public.
Gallup released this chart to accompany their poll results, showing the trend in AGW doubts from 1998 to the present:
I was startled by the resemblance between my entirely made-up chart and this real chart which essentially tracks the exact same trend.
A closer look revealed that a bit of the ol’ hockey-stick-trickery (hockey-stickery?) was used on Gallup’s “AGW is exaggerated” chart itself: the percentage range of opinion is “flattened” somewhat, to make the dramatic upsurge in AGW skepticism seem not as large as it could be shown. This graphing technique is the exact opposite of the Al-Gore-ian graphs, which are designed to visually emphasize the dimensions of global warming as starkly as possible.