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(03/31/09) -

Economy Trumps Environment for Americans

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in the United States want to focus primarily on the economy, according to a poll by Gallup. 51 per cent of respondents believe economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.

(Angus Reid Global Monitor) – Many adults in the United States want to focus primarily on the economy, according to a poll by Gallup. 51 per cent of respondents believe economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.

Conversely, 42 per cent of respondents—down 13 points in two years—think protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth.

Since 2007, defaults on so-called subprime mortgages—credit given to high-risk borrowers—in the U.S. caused volatility in domestic and global financial markets and ultimately pushed the U.S. economy into a recession. A recession is defined as two consecutive quarters of negative growth. The crisis has affected the global financial and credit systems, and triggered layoffs in companies around the world.

On Mar. 23, U.S. president Barack Obama discussed his views on energy, saying, "We can remain the world’s leading importer of foreign oil, or we can become the world’s leading exporter of renewable energy. We can allow climate change to wreck unnatural havoc, or we can create jobs preventing its worst effects. We can hand over the jobs of the 21st century to our competitors, or we can create those jobs right here in America."

Polling Data

With which one of these statements about the environment and the economy do you most agree? Protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of curbing economic growth. Or, Economic growth should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.

 

Mar. 2009

Mar. 2008

Mar. 2007

Economic growth

51%

42%

37%

Environment

42%

49%

55%

Equal priority

5%

5%

4%

Unsure

3%

3%

4%

Source: Gallup
Methodology: Telephone interviews with 1,012 American adults, conducted from Mar. 5 to Mar. 8, 2009. Margin of error is 3 per cent.