Voters Place a High Priority On Environmental Protections, Despite
Concerns About Energy and the Economy
The American voters place a high priority on strong environmental
protections. Americans are unwilling to compromise on existing environmental
regulations in spite of uncertainty about energy and the economy
in general according to a national survey conducted May 21-23. Voters
reject the notion that we must sacrifice a strong economy in order
to have a clean environment. When forced to choose, many still favor
the environmental position regardless of the economic counter-argument.
Support for environmental protections extends to the energy debate
and President Bush's energy plan. A majority say that energy represents
a "serious problem, but not a crisis." Bush's approval
on both energy and the environment is low with just one-in-three
voters giving him credit for a good job on each. Equal numbers support
and oppose his energy plan (35 percent apiece), when no specific
details are mentioned. When briefly described, Bush's plan still
fails to achieve support from a majority of voters, and opposition
gains a slight edge (48 percent to 44 percent).
The voting public wants an energy plan that does more than increase
production of old fuels - oil and coal - and strongly endorses measures
aimed at enhancing conservation, efficiency and the development
of newer, cleaner renewable fuels. Large majorities prefer plans
that emphasize these qualities.
As demonstrated in previous research and again in this study, issues
involving clean air and clean water energize the electorate on the
environment. Notably, lowering arsenic levels in drinking water
and reducing carbon dioxide emissions garner significant support,
even when voters are confronted with economic counter-arguments.
download the complete PDF version of the League of Conservation
Voters Education Fund Energy Poll