Survey: Most Americans say environment should be a top priority, Democrats say it should be No. 1
A survey published last Thursday by the Pew Research Center found that a 64% majority of Americans say the president and Congress should make protecting the environment a top priority, and 52% say climate should get the same attention. That’s 14 points better than in a poll three years ago. But for 18 issues ranked in order of preferred priorities, environment ranked 5th and climate ranked a pitiful 11th. It’s the big improvement over a Pew poll last year about this time that gives reason for optimism in these matters. In that survey the rankings were 8th for environment and 17th for climate. Last week’s was also the first poll in two decades in which economics and environment both ranked about equally as a priority.
As expected, the partisan gap on these priorities continues to be gigantic, with a wider difference of opinion than on any other issues. Among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents, 85% set protecting the environment as priority no. 1, and dealing with the climate crisis at 78% is ranked 5th. Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, on the other hand, environment ranked 15th at 39% (a slight improvement over the 31% who said so in 2019), and climate ranked dead last at 21%, the same as in last year’s poll. For Republicans and independents leaning their way, the top priority is terrorism at 87%. At 60%, Democrats and their leaners rank it 8th.