Poll: Majority says climate change responsible for severity of hurricanes

Poll: Majority says climate change responsible for severity of hurricanes
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More than half of Americans believe that climate change is responsible for the severity of recent hurricanes, according to an ABC News/Washington Post poll published Thursday.

The survey found that 55 percent of respondents blamed climate change for the rough 2017 hurricane season, while 41 percent said it was "just the kind of severe weather that happens from time to time."

The result is a big change from the same poll 12 years ago, which found that 39 percent blamed climate change and 54 percent blamed random severe weather for the hurricanes of the time. The 2005 poll was taken shortly after Hurricane Katrina wreaked havoc on New Orleans.

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Though nearly every demographic has become more open to the idea that climate change could be responsible for the severity of recent weather, college graduates and Democrats were most likely to have flipped from previous skepticism.

Seventy-eight percent of Democrats now say climate change is responsible for severe storms, an increase from 31 percent in 2005. And 23 percent of Republicans say the same — an increase from 16 percent in 2005.

Hurricanes Harvey and Irma slammed Texas and Florida, respectively, in recent weeks, causing more than 200 deaths and more than $130 billion in damage combined. Hurricane Maria caused catastrophic damage in the Caribbean, killing dozens and destroying buildings and infrastructure in Puerto Rico and elsewhere.