77% of Americans prefer summer over winter and while we know what temperatures actually were this past winter, what people think they were in a recent Harris Poll is something else.

When it came to the temperature, 88 percent of Midwesterners and 84 percent of Easterners say it was colder than normal. 71 percent believe it was while only 18 percent felt it was colder than normal. 45% in the West believe it was warmer than normal.

When it came to precipitation, 77 percent of those in the Midwest, 73 percent in the East and 49 percent say there was more rain or snow in their area. In the West, 62% say they had less rain or snow this winter.

Was the snow due to climate change?

The IPCC discourages journalists and the public from attributing every weather event to climate change, yet clearly that is happening anyway. 24 percent of those surveyed believed the precipitation difference was definitely caused by climate change while 38 percent believe it is just normal variation. 

Millennials are more likely than older generations to say that the changes are definitely due to global climate change, 28 percent vs. 18 percent. 69 percent overall do not believe a bad winter is evidence that climate change is not happening, which shows that for many, climate change and global warming are interchangeable.

45 percent of Americans believe that climate change is happening and that humans are the main cause. 30 percent believe that climate change is happening but humans are not the main cause. 65 percent of Democrats believe global warming exists and humans are the main cause while 45 percent of Republicans do.  Other surveys have shown that when the term is climate change rather than global warming, the gap is more narrow.

Weathermen get even less respect

Meteorologists, who had to talk about the polar vortex and the latest snow storm or, in the West, another week without any rain, didn't fare well. 54 percent of Americans think meteorologists are just guessing a lot of the time. 58 percent of Generation X and Baby Boomers believed that meteorologists guessing, while 50 percent of Seniors and 49 percent of Millenials do. 


This Harris Poll was conducted online within the United States between March 12 and 17, 2014 among 2,234 adults (aged 18 and over). Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents’ propensity to be online.

No margin for error because respondents were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Poll surveys, so no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. 

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.