Gallup: Americans Say Gov’t. Must Protect Environment More; Republicans Say ‘No!’

Eric Zuesse

A Gallup poll issued on April 13th headlines “Americans Choose the Environment Over Energy Development,” and on April 9th another report from Gallup was titled “About Half in U.S. Say Environmental Protection Falls Short. The bottom-line from both findings is that “the U.S. government” isn’t doing enough to protect the environment but is doing too much to boost energy-production. Republicans feel the exact opposite way, on both matters.

Among the total American public, 48% say that the federal government is doing “too little … in terms of protecting the environment”; 34% say that it’s doing “the right amount”; and only 16% say that it’s doing “too much.” So, clearly, the public greatly favors increased environmental protection by “the U.S. government.” However, whereas 64% of Democrats feel that the government is doing “too little,” only 39% of Republicans do; and so, the partisan divide on this issue is stark.

Similarly, the U.S. general public give higher priority to (49% opt for) “Environment” over (39% opt for) “Development of U.S. energy supplies”; but among Republicans, 62% favor “Development of U.S. energy supplies,” and only 27% favor “Environment.” By contast: 72% of Democrats favor “Environment,” and only 18% favor “Development of U.S. energy supplies.”

Basically, the reason why the overall U.S. public prefers protecting the environment over boosting U.S. energy-production, is that Democrats are more lopsided for protecting the environment than Republicans are lopsided for boosting energy-production.

This partisan divide has always been high, but is now a bit higher than normal. The divide was at its highest during the period from 2004 to 2006. The divide was smaller in 2000 than at any other time during Gallup’s polling on the matter, which started in 2000.

Independents (neither “Democrat” nor “Republican”) have always been closer to Democrats than to Republicans on these issues; and, in 2012 (the last Presidential campaign), Independents were almost identical to Democrats on them.

If, during the 2016 campaign, the Republican candidate fails to moderate his position more toward the environment, the Democratic candidate will have a major vulnerability to exploit against the Republican’s campaign. If the Democrat exploits that advantage, there will be little likelihood that Independents — the crucial voting-segment — will swing Republican that year.

The environment has always been a low-priority concern of American voters, but energy-production is an even lower-priority concern. And that, plus the highly Democratic slant of Independents on those two issues, could turn that low-priority concern into a kingmaker (or queenmaker) in the 2016 campaigns.

Here are Gallup’s four graphs and charts summarizing their findings:

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My most complete summary of Gallup’s findings on the partisan political divide was titled “Gallup Poll Finds Democrats More Compassionate; Republicans More Psychopathic.


Investigative historian Eric Zuesse is the author, most recently, of  They’re Not Even Close: The Democratic vs. Republican Economic Records, 1910-2010, and of CHRIST’S VENTRILOQUISTS: The Event that Created Christianity, and of Feudalism, Fascism, Libertarianism and Economics.

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  • There are some rich “modern liberals” (not to be confused with “classical liberals” like Ludwig von Mises) who like to buy “eco-friendly” stuff, but by and large, all these poll numbers are meaningless when it comes to the things that the ruling class is telling us to do to “save the earth”.

    I. e. if Americans really believed it, they’d spent their next pennies on solar panels, bicycles and dump their mini-vans and muscle cars.

    The market is the only poll that matters, but it’s distorted by muscular gorilla-government.

    Jesus said he came to set at liberty those who are captive, heal the sick, comfort the broken-hearted. They do no such thing.

    • cettel

      ‘Trutherator’ is saying what ‘kimyo’ did, but from a different angle: the only difference between aristocrats and the public is the difference between success and failure. How imaginative: ‘kimyo’ and ‘Trutherator’ are imitations of Milton Friedman, Ludwig von Mises, and other such writers. But they’re all false; they all share in the same myth and just can’t get beyond it; they refuse to, even when reality passes them by, as it often does.

      • kimyo

        what is the myth you refer to?

        • cettel

          It’s called libertarianism.

          • MCB

            People like you Eric won’t be around much longer and then we Gen Xers can take back our country and and our government from charlatans like you who destroyed it.

          • MCB

            I’d pick Libertarianism any day over your ideology any day which is idiocracy. You are the proverbial Charlie Brown that tries ad infinitum to kick the football that Lucy tees up and you always wind up supine and you never learn. That is epitome of stupidity.

          • kimyo

            1) libertarianism is a myth*?
            2) how did the sleuth formerly known as zuesse determine that i’m a libertarian? (i’m not, for the record)

            myth (from merriam webster)
            : an idea or story that is believed by many people but that is not true
            : a story that was told in an ancient culture to explain a practice, belief, or natural occurrence

            remedial english is down the hall. speak it, or wallow forever in a pit of incomprehensible nonsense and badly executed strawman attacks.

  • kimyo

    if you couch the conversation in terms of red v blue, you miss a key element: the true battle is between corporations and people.

    the corporations like it when ‘writers’ like you stir up arguments among their red and blue vassals. the corporations get to use a gallon of water to grow an almond while sending their goon squads to bash down your door cause you showered too long.

    was not bp running the entire show in the gulf? when good old freedom energy destroyed charleston’s water supply, did the epa come in with shackles? is the aec ‘protecting the environment’ or not when they allow dozens of aging nuke plants, using the same design as fukushima, to continue operating long past their expiration dates?

    when monsanto’s roundup is used to dessicate crops, leaving measurable levels of glyphosphate throughout the food chain, even in ‘usda organic’ products, their people in the fda look aside.

    you, as always, completely miss the point. you further an argument that divides, rather than unites. you are the problem. the future is brighter when we lose the red blue bullshit. it hasn’t served the people in any meaningful way and the path forward requires that this stupidity end.

    • cettel

      The difference in priorities that’s shown in these polls is real, despite what ‘kimyo’ allows himself to believe. However, ‘kimyo’ simply ignores what the public — composed of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents — think or want: he is instead obsessed with what the aristocracy wants, and aristocrats all want the very same thing, so that there’s no ideological component to them; they are pure greed, they are after dominance, which is to be king of the hill, the richest person; they are psychopaths, and so ‘kimyo’ merely assumes that the public are like that too (only not as successful: failed psychopaths).
      Ideological differences are real, but all aristocrats don’t participate in ideology. To a psychopath, non-aristocrats are just failed versions of aristocrats.

      • kimyo

        grandma’s in the hospital with stage 4 liver cancer. zeusse’s solution? ‘let’s get her fingernails done and buy her a new hat!’

        • MCB

          Eric is a useful idiot still caught up in the matrix and paradigm of left/right politics. He’s too stupid to realize that government led environmentalism is a cover and subterfuge for Agenda 21. He’s also a tool is the true street sense. His stupidity lies in the fact that he doesn’t realize just how ignorant and stupid he really is.

          How would you like to live your entire life like Eric? A dupe, a fool and a buffoon who will never have true veritas or any semblance of consciousness. He’s a blevit and he doesn’t have the intellectual honesty or moral courage to admit that he’s been duped. The truth hurts…

          “When I hear a person talking about political solutions, I know I am not listening to a serious person.” – George Carlin

        • MCB

          No where does “Dr. Seuss” address Obama’s caving into Monsanto and continual bowing and scraping to The Four Horseman and their banking and oil interests. Seuss is just a left wing luddite whose ignorance feeds into the divide and conquer tactics of politics. He’s such a transparent fraud that is would laughable and not downright pathetic if the guy didn’t truly believe his own bullshit just like a bad stock broker.

      • MC

        Psychopathy is institutionalized. So, whether you like it or not, you’re participating. Do these pollsters go into the ghettos or speak to any of the 50 million who are below poverty level? An independent is merely a fence sitter.

  • MC