A Seven-Year Stretch of Elevated Environmental Concern
WASHINGTON, D.C. — For the seventh straight year, U.S. public concern about the quality of the environment is near its two-decade high, with 44% of Americans worrying “a great deal” about it. The rest are about evenly divided between those worrying “a fair amount” (27%) versus “only a little” or “not at all” (28%).
The recent stretch of elevated public concern about the environment contrasts with more muted worry in the first 15 years after Gallup began tracking this public sentiment in 2001. From 2001 to 2015, closer to a third of Americans said they worried a great deal about the environment, with the figure exceeding 40% only twice, in 2001 and 2007.
In terms of which environmental issues Americans worry about, Gallup finds pollution of drinking water and pollution of natural waterways at the top of the list, with majorities saying they worry a great deal about each. This includes more than six in 10 Democrats, 58% of independents and about four in 10 Republicans.
Global warming is also a major concern for Democrats, at 67%, while ranking last among independents and Republicans. Air pollution and loss of tropical rain forests rank as mid-level concerns for all groups.
2015 Gallup: Americans Worry Least About Global Warming – Concern over AGW lowest among all ENVIRONMENTAL issues – The results showed that when it came to “pollution of drinking water,” 60% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but only 55% worried about it a “great deal” in 2015. For “global warming or climate change,” some 34% worried about it a “great deal” in 2014 but that went down to 32% in 2015.
2012 Gallup survey: Climate dead-last among all ENVIRONMENTAL concerns — ‘Americans Worry Most About Water Contamination, Least About Global Warming’ – Gallup: ‘The relative rank order of these environmental issues has generally been consistent over time, with water-related problems at the top and global warming at the bottom’