Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Priorities of the American voter

Treehugger (and Environmental Economics, Matthew Yglesias) has a story about a poll made by American Environics which concerns American's main priorities (the title is "Energy Attitudes") and gives us a hint how good the candidates match with the mainstream.

The study's objection is to show how the perception of the issue of global warming and general awareness of the environment is changing in the minds of the American public. The result is, that there is a change; but a slow one. Old Christian values still dominate the voters priority list, so it is not surprising, that the most important issue is gay marriage.

A comparison of issues voters deem "very important" between 2006 and 2007 show almost no improvement or even a deterioration for "Environment" and "Global warming". About half of the people asked (56%) think the environment is an important issue though.

The preoccupying sorrows of the American still seem to be about terrorism and all-time runners like taxes or the economy. It will still be a long time until people open up to issues, which are not or don't seem imminent to them. Sadly the horizon of many doesn't reach farther than their own backyard. Let us hope that we can tackle the problems we face, before it is not possible to ignore them anymore.

To obtain more facts and numbers you can read the full report here. (PDF) A short summary of the main points (copied from the PDF):
  • The public overwhelmingly believes global warming is occurring and demands action.
  • Global warming remains a relatively low priority for voters, despite high-profile and extensive media attention in 2006 and 2007.
  • Both the cost of energy and energy independence are higher priority concerns than global warming.
  • Voters strongly support large investments into clean energy sources to achieve energy independence and deal with global warming.
  • Voters say they would pay more for energy in the abstract, but vote against it in the concrete.
  • There is less concern about taxes and the size of government today than in the mid-1990s

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