Tuesday, May 8, 2012

US Wants Government Action on the Environment but Less Fond of the Environmental Movement

Polls suggest that Americans want to see their government act on environmental issues, but they do not have much love for the environmental movement. According to a number of different surveys, people in the US have seemingly contradictory views on the environment. American public opinion may be divided but there are some issues that enjoy the support of the majority.

Most Americans want to see government support for clean energy and they want government to make climate change a priority issue. The majority of Americans see global warming as an important issue, and regularly engage in behaviors that are good for the environment.

Gallup recently found that 83 percent of Americans want more government support for clean energy. Yale and George Mason University researchers found [PDF] that 72 percent of Americans believe that global warming should be a government priority. Another Gallup poll found that three out of four Americans regularly engage in environmentally friendly behaviors.

Polls on American attitudes suggest that support for the environmental movement has declined over the last ten years.According to a 2010 Gallup poll, American support the environmental movement has decreased and unsurprisingly it is split along party lines. Republicans tend to dislike environmentalists while Democrats tend to be supporters.

The 2010 survey asked respondents whether they think the environmental movement has done more good than harm, or vice versa, and a similar but slightly stronger pattern emerges. In 2010, 22 percent said that the movement has "definitely done more good than harm" and 40% that it has "probably done more good than harm," for a total of 62% holding a positive view. This reflects a decline of 13 points since 2000.

© 2012, Richard Matthews. All rights reserved.

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