The most recent poll from USA Today and Gallup has shown a dramatic increase in America’s desire to protect the environment.
[social_buttons]This comes only a few months after the last such poll which saw a desire for energy production to take priority over environmental conservation by 7 percentage points. Now that margin has swung back in favour of the environment with a clear 16 percentage point gap in the environments favour.
It comes as little surprise considering the catastrophic oil spill taking place in the Gulf of Mexico, and highlights the fickle nature of the American public who seem only to care about the environment when there is a grave national threat or someone to blame.
When asked whether “protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies … or development of U.S. energy supplies … should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent,” the March survey of participants saw 50% of respondents favour energy development. However when asked the same question in a poll taken May 24-25 55% of respondents favoured environmental protection over 39% who wanted energy development.
This is not the only positive environmental trend. When asked whether “protection of the environment should be given priority … or economic growth should be given priority,” at the sake of the other, 50% of respondents favoured environmental protection compared to 43% who favoured economic growth. This was in comparison to the March response to the same question which had 50% of Americans favouring economic growth compared to 38% – down from 51% – who favoured environmental protection.
The same poll has shown that Americans aren’t overly happy with the way BP, or President Obama and the current administration, are handling the oil spill crisis. 73% of respondents believe that BP is handling the oil spill poorly or very poorly, with only 24% believing they are handling it good or very good.
Obama on the other hand is only suffering a 53% disapproval rating and the federal government 60%, with 43% of respondents believing that Obama is handling it good or very good and 35% think the same of the federal government.
But Americans are paying attention this time, which is good news even if the cynical will point out that many are just looking out for their own interests or someone to blame and rail upon. 87% of respondents reported that they are following news of the oil spill closely, including 47% who state they are following it “very” closely. It ranks 8 on the list of top 10 most closely followed news stories that Gallup has measured since 1991.