Poll: Jobs wins over environment

Moore Information Polling Press release, U.S. Voters: Jobs and the Environment, November 18, 2008

.As economic conditions have continued to worsen throughout 2008, voters have grown more concerned about protecting jobs than protecting the environment. Asked which issue they are more concerned about today, 65% of U.S. voters say they are more concerned about protecting jobs, while only 27% are more concerned about protecting the environment. This is a notable change from six months ago, when concern about jobs was higher than concern about the environment, but to a lesser degree than today. Further comparison to past data reflects a pattern of concern consistent with the economic ups and downs over the past three years, as reflected in the following table:

U.S. Voters: Jobs vs. the Environment
“Are you more concerned about protecting the environment or protecting jobs?”

As we have reported in the past, when the economy is good, or even stable, people are less concerned about pocketbook issues and more interested in other issues, such as the environment. Conversely, the build up of negative economic conditions throughout 2008 has clearly contributed to the increasing importance of jobs. Further, with current polls and consumer confidence indices reporting all time high negative perceptions of economic conditions, it is not surprising that majorities among all voter subgroups are putting jobs ahead of the environment.

Looking at specific subgroups, voters in the Mountains/Plains states, North Central U.S. and the South are all more concerned about protecting jobs than voters in the Pacific and Northeast regions. Women age 18-54 are more concerned about protecting jobs than older women and men of all ages. Concern about protecting jobs correlates to education: those with less education (i.e. 0-15 years) are more concerned about jobs than college graduates and those with post-graduate educations. By party, Republicans and Independents are more concerned about protecting jobs than Democrats, and Conservatives are more concerned about protecting jobs over protecting the environment than Moderates and Liberals. Lastly, ethnicity plays a role in perceptions, as African American voters are more concerned about protecting jobs over the environment than other voters. The following table summarizes these findings:

Please feel free to call or email with any questions.

Bob Moore [email protected] 503.221.3100
Hans Kaiser [email protected] 410.216.9856

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Posted by at 05:57 | Posted in Measure 37 | 11 Comments |Email This Post Email This Post |Print This Post Print This Post
  • John Fairplay

    Over-the-top protection of the environment is a luxury in which only wealthy societies can engage. Oregon is about to become a dramatically poorer society. By the time it’s over, there will be very few people willing to trade a family-wage job for an owl or a fungus.

  • Sybella

    I just came back from a trip through Utah, New Mexico, and Colorado. I came back into Oregon through Ontario where I purchased enough fuel to get back home. The contrast was something to behold. I honestly felt like I had just driven into a third world country.

    The problem with John Fairplays comment about only wealthy societies engaging in so much environmental protection, is very true, The problem, especially here in Oregon, is the Politicians have all the money and they think the rest of us have it too. It never occured to them, it’s ours they’re throwing around and if they do, They don’t care.

    Spotted Owl sandwich anyone?

  • eagle eye

    More nostalgic daydreaming about getting rid of the spotted owl and bringing back logging in the national forests. If it didn’t happen under Bush and Republicans, it’s not going to under Obama and the Democrats. Dream on, Oregon Republicans and conservatives. You’re not catalyzing anything, though.

    • dean

      Beyond that, it is the same attitude that cost Republicans the youth vote. Young people are strongly environmental and are not going to vote for Neanderthals who advocate eating spotted owls. Even Newt Gingrich seems to recognize this.

      And by the way…when people say they are MORE concerned about jobs as opposed to environment, they are not saying they don’t care about the environment. Smart, successful people figure out how to have both,…owls AND timber, not one or the other.

  • Steve Plunk

    I too am nostalgic for common sense forestry and harvest levels that serve all interests. Since nobody is really going eat a spotted owl that statement has long been used to signify the contempt for a species that is little more than a tool used to stop logging. Saying it does not make one a Neanderthal. Since the common sense people were tricked into the Great NW Forest Compromise we are a bit disillusioned. Harvest level promises were never kept and environmentalists back stabbed us by ignoring the good faith agreement.

    The point I take away from this post and the poll behind it is one for the future. Sleepy Ted is pushing carbon caps and other AGW nonsense without telling Oregonians how many jobs will be lost. If we could quantify the job losses and give us all a say it’s easy to see we want jobs before carbon caps. Carbon caps that the Chinese will most certainly ignore.

    Oregon has lived through one environmental catastrophe so we should now have the experience to avoid another misguided environmental initiative. As long as people take the time to remind us of how it went down the first time.

    The young people of today have the distinct disadvantage of being brainwashed by a public school system that misinformed them about the environment. I’ve seen the propaganda and it is so one sided and unscientific it makes my heart sink. Junk science is being taught to our kids every day. Only engaged parents can counter the BS before it warps the minds of our youth.

    Fortunately these kids start to figure it out by the time they are 35 or 40 but it’s too late. The damage has destroyed a backbone industry and forever hampered Oregon’s ability to give it’s kids a job.

    Let’s not make the same mistake again. Lets’ learn from the past. Let’s see the overblown fears for what they are. Let’s stop this environmental fascism before it leaves us all in the unemployment line.

    • dean

      Steve…I agree with you that no one actually wants to eat an owl. But those who continue to use that and similar expressions play to stereotypes, and I can tell you from experience as a part time college teacher that young adults take note of such things.

      I was “there,” so to speak for the Clinton Forest Plan. It was not a compromise. It was one of 9 options that were on the table, all with varying levels of predicted timber harvest levels and estimated ecological risks, using the best available data at that time. A key aspect of that plan was called “survey and manage,” basically meaning that before more old growth timber could be harvested, even in those areas designated for harvest, there had to be detailed on the ground surveys to look for a range of plant, fungal, and animal species about which little was or is known. As the Forest Service and BLM began to implement the plan, field studies turned up these species, and many presumed sales could not go forward. I can understand loggers thinking this was a “broken promise,” but it was no such thing. The amount of timber to be sold was always uncertain.

      The bottom line is we, and I include myself in this as a former Forest Service worker, over harvested for several decades. And we KNEW we were over harvesting. Some of us damaged our careers by speaking out from within, but the saying in the office was “the night shift will deal with it.” Well the night shift arrived early when the spotted owl was listed as a threatened species. But even without the owl there are over 400 species dependent on old growth forests, so if it had not been one thing it would have been another.

      To your larger point, I don’t think anyone really knows or can accurately predict what the future holds with respect to transitioning to alternative energy from fossil fuels. We may do better, as many models show, or we may do worse as many fear. At the state level, I think we are way better off getting as far out in front as we can as opposed to being laggards, because the new technology and industries are going to go to those places that lead, such as Denmark and Germany, not those who follow. To the extent we spend more on wind here and less on oil that comes from over there, even if this costs a bit more, we should come out ahead.

  • JesseO

    This is a meaningless poll based on a meaningless question. The vast majority of Oregonians don’t believe it’s a trade-off.

    That is, you could ask the same question to prove that people don’t care about health care, because we’re all worried about jobs right now.

  • cc

    “Smart, successful people figure out how to have both,…owls AND timber, not one or the other.”

    There’s one for the ages – dean pontificating about what “Smart, successful people…” do – theoretical knowledge, at best.

    More likely, BS from his storehouse thereof (his barn, I think).

    “This is a meaningless poll based on a meaningless question. The vast majority of Oregonians don’t believe it’s a trade-off.

    That is, you could ask the same question to prove that people don’t care about health care, because we’re all worried about jobs right now.”

    While we’re on the subject, that was a meaningless comment based upon a meaningless hypothesis.

    That is, you would draw the same baseless, unsupported conclusion from any set of data.

    Although, of course “we’re” all worried about jobs right now – all of us except Teddy – who’s waiting to be told when to “worry”.

    The only jobs Teddy worries about are those of his union buddies. You know, the ones who make his mouth move while they speak for him.

  • Virgil Bierschwale

    I believe everybody wants to do what they can for the environment, but ultimately we have to make the decision whether or not it is more important to protect the enviornment and stifle growth, or whether we should work within the boundaries of growth and find out if it is possible to have growth and develop a way to clean up the environment from the results of that growth.

    For myself, I see us continuing to grow and I see us heading off to space to explore and colonize other planets because that is the way of our lives.

    To do that and to develop solutions to clean up our environment, we need to put our manufacturing base back to work because America is depending on us and Americans are the best at developing new solutions.


  • Rupert in Springfield

    Frankly while I think this poll might have some applicability nationwide, it clearly is out of step with Oregon voters. Like it or not this state clearly values concepts such as open space, green area set asides and zoning policies that directly encourage low or zero growth. Other things are more indirect. Oregonians seem to have consistently supported at the polls politicians and policies that err on the side of zero growth, little to no business development and increasing unemployment. Let’s face it Ted got elected twice and his raise taxes good times or bad and foster a poor business climate policies were well known to voters both times around. Oregonians love increasing the minimum wage and this job killer is set to go up even in the current economy. That means more expensive government, which means more taxes. Not exactly pro job growth there, and hardly an unknown quantity to the voters.

    Frankly the only thing I can think of on a state wide basis that has any pro growth aspect to it is Oregonians consistent refusal to enact a sales tax. That said they do seem intent on electing politicians that will push for one. Therefore even that yard stick is pretty suspect.

    I often ask people if they can name a major company that has left the state or chosen another state to locate a new plant in. There is of course a litany, Freightliner being one of the latest, but generally people can name one or two. I then ask them if they can name a single major company that has moved into Oregon to set up shop, and no, five hippies in a basement making micro brew doesn’t count. Usually I get a deer in the headlights look.

    Most people do like thriving economies and low unemployment. Oregon, however, is a leader on the issue of unemployment and seems satisfied with reelecting and encourage those who have fostered such policies. Thus I think it is quite safe to say things really are different in Oregon.

    • dean

      Moser Baer Photo Voltaic, Solarworld, Vestas Americas, and Vanilla Bicycles to name a few.

      Mississipi has a great business climate” by the way. No unions, no state minimum wage, no state land use system, no urban growth boundaries. Yet….not much of an economy either. Funny.

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