Survey Says! American Public Attitudes Towards the Environment

Dr. David M. Konisky from the University of Missouri’s Institute of Public Policy recently released a survey that captures American attitudes towards current environmental issues (pdf here). The results were obtained from a questionnaire sent to 1000 adults as part of the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study (CCES).

At the global and national levels, approximately equal numbers of individuals were either happy or unhappy with the current state of the environment; however, at the local level, many more were more concerned (73%) than not (27%). What might this reflect – do people believe their local environment is less pristine than the entire planet,  or perhaps a result of our inability to observe global environmental problems?

Anyways, there are a number of other interesting factoids in the report – the participants were asked to rate how much effort their government should put into addressing various environmental issues (I’ve collated some of the data below). First, very few people want the government to put a significantly less amount of effort into protecting community drinking water (phew). Second, the highest percentages of respondents that chose the “A lot less” response all fell into highly publicized (and politicized) environmental issues: climate change, rain forest loss, ozone layer, and biodiversity (all between 10-13%). I’m very curious whether the same respondents chose the “A lot less” for all four of these categories…

environmental poll questions
(click to enlarge)

Lastly, the pollsters asked the respondents to indicate their political affiliation, both party and ideology. It turns out Republicans really aren’t that interested in the environment. S u r p r i s e:

environmental poll politics

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Dave Semeniuk spends hours locked up in his office, thinking about the role the oceans play in controlling global climate, and unique ways of studying it. He'd also like to shamelessly plug his art practice: