Poll: Closer look on Global Warming

Below is a press release from local pollster Moore Information:

Our recent survey of U.S. voters confirms global warming is a leading concern among environmental issues. However, in the context of all national issues, it still barely registers. Further, voters are divided in their willingness to pay for programs to fight global warming, and several differences by key subgroup suggest that there will be significant disagreement in how we address global warming as a nation.

Leading Environmental Issues

American voters are more concerned today about global warming than they were four years ago. In our August 2007 survey of voters, global warming topped the list of six environmental issues. Specifically, more than four-in-ten voters (43%) cite global warming as their leading environmental concern, followed distantly by water quality (14%), air quality (11%) and garbage and landfills (8%). This is a significant difference from results of a similar question asked in 2003. Back then, global warming was only the fourth most important environmental issue, trailing concerns about drinking water, clean air and hazardous waste.

August 2007
Global warming 43%
Water quality 14%
Air quality 11%
Garbage and landfills 8%
Forest management 4%
Endangered/vanishing species 2%
Something else 11%
Don’t know 6%
Don’t know 4%
*survey conducted by Moore Information, among 1,000 voters nationwide

May 2003
Drinking water 30%
Clean air 20%
Hazardous waste 15%
Global warming 11%
Recycling 7%
Litter 5%
Suburban sprawl 5%
Endangered species 3%
Don’t know 4%
survey conducted by Andres McKenna Research, among 600 adults nationwide

Looking at subgroup reactions, among Democrats, Independents and Moderate/Liberal Republican voters, there is general agreement that global warming is the leading environmental concern, however among Conservative Republicans, air quality and water quality are as likely as global warming to be considered the most important environmental issue.

However, it is important to consider these findings in the context of the entire national issue spectrum. Compared to a list of major issues facing the United States today, such as the Iraq War, the economy, health care, education — national public surveys report only 2-3% of Americans consider the environment, or “global warming” specifically, a leading issue

Paying for Programs to Combat Global Warming
Despite the issue’s rank as an environmental concern, voters are divided over whether or not they would pay more on their utility bills for programs to combat global warming.

Specifically, 46% say they are willing, but 48% are unwilling to pay 10% more on their monthly utility bills to address global warming.

“Would you be willing or unwilling to pay 10 percent more on your monthly utility bills if the money was used to help fund programs that combat global warming?”

Willing 46%
Unwilling 48%
Don’t know 6%

Not surprisingly, perceptions about the importance of global warming play a significant role in willingness to pay for programs to fight it. Nearly seven-in-ten voters (69%) who say global warming is the most important environmental issue are willing to pay 10% more on their monthly utility bill for programs to address global warming.

There are also major differences based on partisanship. For example, among Democrats 67% are willing to pay more, compared to 51% among Independents and only 21% among Republican voters. In addition, urban voters and those residing on the Pacific Coast and in the Northeast are more likely to be willing to pay for global warming, but even in these groups willingness only reached slim majority. Gender and age also play a role in views — women are more willing than men and voters age 18-29 are more willing than their elders to pay for global warming. Also, as education levels increase, so does willingness to pay for global warming programs.

For full report click here.