POLLS: Earth Day, Energy, Environment, and 2012 - New Political Report

With Earth Day around the corner, American Enterprise Institute (AEI) public opinion expert Karlyn Bowman and researcher Andrew Rugg examine Americans’ attitudes about energy policy and environmental issues in the latest Political Report.

Key findings:

  • ENERGY v. ENVIRONMENT: Americans support prioritizing energy development (47 percent) over protecting the environment (44 percent). This is a change from previous years, when more people prioritized the environment.
  • KEYSTONE XL: Polls show strong support for building the Keystone pipeline. In March 2012, 57 percent told Gallup the U.S. government should approve the building of the pipeline, while 29 percent thought the government shouldn’t.
  • ALL OF THE ABOVE?: Americans like an "all-of-the-above" approach to energy development, including continuing to develop nuclear energy. Most prefer that the U.S. emphasize conservation over production to solve the nation's energy problems.
  • GLOBAL WARMING: Attitudes toward global warming have changed little in recent years, remaining highly polarized. The proportion saying the seriousness of global warming is exaggerated was 42 percent in a March 2012 Gallup poll.
  • YOUTH ATTITUDES: Surveys of young people's attitudes towards the environment show, on the surface, a reduced commitment to the environment. But they could also show that young people are more satisfied than earlier generations with progress on the environment.

You might also be interested in this just-released public opinion study on the environment, an annual, in-depth round up of public attitudes. Read the full report here.

Karlyn Bowman is an AEI senior fellow and public opinion expert. She can be reached at [email protected], or by contacting [email protected] or 202.862.5917.

For help reaching any AEI scholars and for all other media requests, please contact Jesse Blumenthal at [email protected] or 202.862.4870.

AEI's in-house ReadyCam TV studio may be booked by calling VideoLink at 617.340.4300. For radio interviews, please e-mail [email protected] to reserve AEI's ISDN facilities.

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