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Global Preening

The Pew Research Center for the People and the Press has a new survey on global-warming attitudes.

Basically, most people (70 percent) believe global warming exists. Forty-one percent believe it's caused by humans, and 21 percent think it's caused by natural patterns.

Democrats are about 20 percentage points more likely to believe global warming exists; they're more than twice as likely to blame humans.

Most interesting, however, is that while Republicans rate global warming the absolute least important out of 19 issues tested by Pew, Democrats don't consider it all that important an issue either. They rate it 13th out of 19 issues -- health care, education, the economy, Iraq, terrorism, the deficit and the minimum wage all beat out what they claim to believe is a cataclysmic climate shift, caused by man, about to wreak havoc on the earth.

What this shows, I think, is that most global-warming politics is truly about moral preening and liberal guilt over living in a prosperous society. That's not to say one can't legitimately be concerned about climate change. But it does mean that most Democratic voters know they're supposed to believe in global warming and blame SUVs if they want to be considered good, socially conscious people.

When push comes to shove, however, they don't actually expect anyone to do anything about global warming. They just want to know their leaders are properly concerned.