According to the latest Reuters/Ipsos poll, 83 percent of people now believe that climate change is happening. That's up from 75 percent last year. What's behind the change? Partly heat, and partly hot air.

Folks historically have a hard time differentiating weather and climate, so it's not a surprise that after a very hot and drought-riddled summer, more people believe in global warming. They're right, of course, but they may be right for the wrong reasons — i.e. because it's been unusually hot in their locale, not because the climate's getting weird all over. But whatever. If this is a war of public opinion, and sometimes it seems that way, we'll take it.

But there may be a more interesting factor than weather at work. At least one political scientist says that GOP candidates may have helped cause the increase with their increasingly over-the-top blowhard denialism.

As Americans watch Republicans debate the issue, they are forced to mull over what they think about global warming, said Jon Krosnick, a political science professor at Stanford University. …

"That is exactly the kind of situation that will provoke the public to think about the issue in a way that they haven't before," Krosnick said about news reports on the Republicans denying climate change science.

I love it. The irony is thicker than the sludge running through what used to be Texas' rivers.