[A-List] Americans favor emissions limits & R&D, oppose drilling in ANWR
cbrown at michiganlegal.org
Fri Apr 6 11:33:26 MDT 2007
April 05, 2007
Most Americans Back Curbs on Auto Emissions, Other Environmental
Solid majority opposes drilling for oil in Alaskan wilderness
by Lydia Saad
GALLUP NEWS SERVICE
PRINCETON, NJ -- Gallup's annual Environment survey, updated Mar.
11-14, 2007, finds the overwhelming majority of Americans supporting
environmental proposals that would strengthen government restrictions
on greenhouse gas emissions and spend more taxpayer money to develop
alternative sources of fuel and energy. Americans have been widely
supportive of these proposals since Gallup began tracking them as far
back as six years ago. Public support for these proposals dipped
slightly in 2006 but bounced back this year, and grew to a new high
in the case of setting higher restrictions on auto emissions.
Gallup finds much less support for expanding the use of nuclear
energy or opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for
The percentages favoring each of the eight proposals tested range
from a high of 86% for spending government money to develop
alternative sources of fuel for automobiles, to a low of 41% for oil
drilling in the Alaskan wilderness.
Changes in the Last Year
Seventy-nine percent of Americans now favor setting higher emission
standards for automobiles, a slightly higher percentage than has been
the case across four other measurements taken since 2001.
An even greater shift is seen in the percentage of Americans in favor
of setting higher emissions and pollution standards for business and
industry, rising from 77% in March 2006 to 84% in March 2007.
However, the current level is similar to that found four years ago.
Last year's survey was conducted at a time of rising gas prices,
which may have dampened Americans' willingness to support
environmental policies presumed to drive fuel costs even higher.
Those in favor of spending more government money on developing solar
and wind power grew by a small, but statistically significant, 4
percentage points over the past year, from 77% to 81%.
Similarly, a 4-point increase is seen in the percentage of Americans
saying they are in favor of imposing mandatory controls on carbon
dioxide emissions and other greenhouse gases -- from 75% in 2006 to
79% today. (Although this type of control is the cornerstone of the
Kyoto global warming protocol that President George W. Bush opposes,
public support for Kyoto, per se, has not been nearly this high.)
Eighty-two percent of Americans now say they favor "more strongly
enforcing environmental regulations." This is not appreciably higher
than the 79% Gallup recorded in 2006, but is the highest percentage
seen since Gallup began tracking the measure in 2001.
There has been no significant change since 2006 in the percentage of
Americans in favor of spending more government money to develop
alternate fuel sources for automobiles -- the most widely favored of
all proposals tested. That figure is currently 86%, compared with 85%
in March 2006.
Nuclear Power and Arctic Oil Exploration Lose Support
Gallup's 2007 Environment poll documents a 5-point decline in the
percentage of Americans who favor expanding the use of nuclear
energy, and an 8-point decline in support for opening the Alaskan
Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) for oil exploration.
As a result, Americans are now closely divided over the nuclear
energy issue (50% in favor and 46% opposed), while a solid majority
of Americans oppose drilling for oil in ANWR (41% in favor, 57%
Comparing the current views to those of 2006 could overstate the
importance of the changes, as public support for both proposals was
unusually high last year, possibly due to rising gas prices. Current
support levels are on par with where they stood in previous years.
Gallup generally finds the greatest differences among subgroups in
support for the eight environmental proposals according to political
party affiliation. Democrats widely support most of the proposed
government regulations on greenhouse emissions as well as increased
government spending to develop alternative energy sources. A majority
of Republicans also support these proposals, just not to as great an
The greatest partisan differences relate to the expansion of nuclear
power and opening ANWR to oil exploration. A majority of Republicans
favor these proposals, while a majority of Democrats oppose them.
Men and women are similar in their views about government spending on
alternative energy and capping greenhouse gases, but they differ
fairly sharply when it comes to expanding nuclear energy and drilling
in ANWR; men are more supportive than women of both proposals.
Results are based on telephone interviews with 1,009 national adults,
aged 18 and older, conducted Mar. 11-14, 2007. For results based on
the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence
that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points. In
addition to sampling error, question wording and practical
difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into
the findings of public opinion polls.
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