Poll: Environment Is Least Important Issue To Americans


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Andrew Follett Energy and Science Reporter
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Only 3 percent of Americans listed “environment/pollution” as their most important issue in 2016, according to a new Gallup poll.

The poll is part of Gallup’s annual survey, which ranks the issues Americans say are the most important to them each month throughout the year. While public opinion on the 25 issues listed on the poll varied from month to month, “the environment” ranked consistently as the lowest in national importance for most Americans throughout the entire year, tied with “guns.”

Gallup’s results found that “the economy” was the most important issue to Americans, with 16 percent of those polled saying it was their top concern. “The government” came in second at 13 percent, while “unemployment/jobs” came in third at 9 percent. Race relations and immigration competed for the fourth spot with about 7 percent of respondents considering both as the top issue.

Gallup’s poll was based on telephone interviews conducted with a random sample of 1,000 adults living in all 50 U.S. states and Washington, D.C. The poll has a margin of error of 1 percent.

Most Americans won’t spend more more than $1 a month in higher electricity bills to fight global warming, according to an Associated Press-University of Chicago poll. Fifty-seven percent of Americans would be willing to spend the extra cash to fight global warming, and 39 percent said they’d spend up to $10 a month to stave off warming.

The polling means that less than 40 percent of Americans are willing to pay for Obama’s Clean Power Plan. The plan, which is intended to slow global warming, is expected to cost a staggering $41 billion annually, which equates to about $10.74 a month for each American.

Other polls found that global warming is a more polarizing issue than gay marriage or abortion.

Researchers from Yale University found only 17 percent of Americans are “extremely concerned” about global warming and want immediate action, while another 28 percent are “concerned,” but don’t think it’s an immediate problem. The poll estimates about 10 percent of Americans reject global warming’s scientific validity, and 11 percent think the science behind global warming is dubious.

Roughly 27 percent of the population doesn’t know what to believe on global warming, and the remaining 7 percent don’t care. Researchers found Americans who were “extremely concerned” about global warming listed it and “protecting the environment” as their top political issues. Every other category of concern regarded global warming as less important than the economy, healthcare, or terrorism.

Despite the heavy media and political pressure, Americans aren’t very concerned about global warming compared to citizens of other countries, according to a Pew Research Center study published in December. Thirty-six of the forty industrialized nations surveyed were more concerned about global warming than America.

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