Climate Change poll

From my January 2006 entry:

... democracy really is a protection as well as a threat. On the really important issues, the people are generally better informed than on issues that have little relevance to them, and I trust them more than I trust the Establishment. If Britain was ever in danger of falling into Communism since 1945, and it may have been, the danger came from the establishment, and our best protection was the proletariat.

I think this is borne out by the story today that the public has not been convinced by Global Warming alarmists:

The public believes the effects of global warming on the climate are not as bad as politicians and scientists claim, a poll has suggested.

The Ipsos Mori poll of 2,032 adults - interviewed between 14 and 20 June - found 56% believed scientists were still questioning climate change.

There was a feeling the problem was exaggerated to make money, it found.

They may not be able to evaluate the science, but they know propaganda when they see it. It's a lot easier to see that the issue is being deliberately exaggerated than to predict the future climate. And because significant policies are being put forward on the basis of the claims, the public is giving them more attention than they do "academic" issues like evolution.

Not that I would deny that the public is capable of getting important questions seriously wrong - see Caplan etc. I think the lesson is that the public is better at estimating honesty and sincerity than science or economics, and therefore when seeking to influence the public, modesty is good and exaggeration fatal.