A recent study by researchers at Yale University and George Mason University identifies six separate segments of the American adult public in terms of their positions on climate change issues and how they arrive at those positions.

“The American public does not respond to climate change with a single voice – there are many different groups that each respond to this issue in different ways,” they write in an overview to their 140-page report. “Constructively engaging each of these groups in climate change solutions will therefore require tailored approaches,” they emphasize, underscoring the “know thy audience” principle.

The six segments: the Alarmed; the Concerned; the Cautious; the Disengaged; the Doubtful; and the Dismissive.

For media junkies, in particular, Table 26 provides insights on “Trust in Information Sources,” ranging from scientists, corporate and religious interests, mainstream media, Al Gore, and TV weather reporters. Tables 27 and 28 offer insights on frequency of use of different media.

From the two poles of the six segments – the “Alarmed” and the “Dismissive” – the data indicate that 61 percent of the former and 3 percent of the latter strongly or somewhat trust mainstream news media for climate change information reporting. For those same two categories, 40 percent of the “Alarmed” and 97 percent of the “Dismissive” strongly or somewhat distrust mainstream news. The corresponding national averages show 47 percent strongly or somewhat trustful of mainstream news organizations, 53 percent strongly or somewhat distrustful.

The full report, “Global Warmings’ Six Americas 2009: An Audience Segmentation Analysis,” is available as a pdf.

Topics: Policy & Politics