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[greenyes] Polling



This Earth Day, voters worry about other things
Environment recedes as campaign issue

Thursday, April 22, 2004


WASHINGTON -- The annual Earth Day celebration predictably prompts
politicians to tout their environmental credentials, but experts question
whether environmental issues have much of an effect on presidential voting.

Even among younger voters, who typically express more interest in preserving
the environment than their elders, the "greenness" of a presidential
candidate is less important this year than in the past.

Still, the coming of Earth Day, every April 22 since its creation in 1970,
focuses public attention on protecting the planet and assessing the
eco-friendliness of the White House occupants and aspirants.

This year, "for some of those voters, the environment, public health issues,
clean air, clean water could be very important," Carol Browner, director of
the Environmental Protection Agency under former President Clinton, said in
a conference call with reporters this week.

An annual Earth Day poll by The Gallup Organization this week found that
Americans are less worried today about the environment than they have been
in the past. The shift "may reflect the tough economic situation facing the
country in the past few years," noted Gallup's analyst, Lydia Saad.

Indeed, when asked whether environmental protection or economic growth
should be given priority when the two interests conflict, a record low
number of Americans have chosen environmental protection in each of the last
two years -- 49 percent this year, 47 percent in 2003.

Moreover, in the latest poll, just 8 percent cited the environment as the
most important issue facing the country in the next 25 years, down from 14
percent four years ago.

Nonetheless, Americans give the environment a more negative assessment now
than in previous years. Fifty-seven percent rate the quality of the nation's
environment today as "fair" or "poor," a jump of 5 percent since President
Bush took office.

In a recent poll of college students by Harvard's Institute of Politics,
just 2 percent said the environment concerns them "the most," well beyond
the war on terrorism and in Iraq (21 percent) and the economy (20 percent).

In the past, some pollsters have found sizeable majorities of 18- to
30-year-olds who ranked the environment above encouraging economic growth.





Peter Anderson
4513 Vernon Blvd. Suite 15
Madison, WI 53705
Ph: (608) 231-1100
Fax: (608) 233-0011
Cell (608) 438-9062
email: anderson@no.address

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