Poll: Global warming and taxing the rich rank low on voters’ radar

Michael Bastasch | Contributor

While issues like federal deficits, spending, corruption and terrorism rank high among voter concerns, environmental issues and raising taxes on the wealthy do not.

A new Gallup poll shows that only 21 percent of Americans see combating environmental issues, like global warming, and increasing taxes on the wealthy as “extremely important” priorities. In contrast, 19 percent of Americans believe climate change is “not important” for the president to address and 27 percent believe the same for raising taxes on the wealthy.

There is a huge gap in support for President Barack Obama and Republican candidate Mitt Romney when it comes to these issues.

Thirty-three percent of Obama supporters see environmental issues as “extremely important,” 23 percentage points higher than Romney supporters who also believe environmental issues are “extremely important.”

Likewise, 32 percent of Obama supporters see raising taxes on the wealthy as an “extremely important” issue, 22 percentage points higher than the share of Romney supporters who also believe so.

Despite the huge difference in priorities among their supporters, the environment and taxing the wealthy were the lowest-ranked issues of concern for supporters of each candidate.

The highest priorities were creating jobs, reducing corruption and reigning in the federal budget deficit, according to the poll. However, the when the data is broken down between Obama and Romney supporters, top priorities change.

Gallup notes: “Supporters of both candidates agree about the importance of jobs and corruption, while the deficit is a higher priority for Romney supporters than Obama supporters. In turn, Obama supporters believe the next president should have healthcare, Social Security and Medicare, and public education among his highest priorities.”

Romney is prefered by voters fearing the federal budget deficit, with 55 percent of Americans saying he would handle the issue best and only 36 percent preferring Obama. The same goes for jobs, with 50 percent favoring Romney and 44 percent favoring Obama.

Even so, Americans remain split on who they support in the coming election, with 46 percent opting for each candidate.

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