Americans Continue to Prioritize Economy Over Environmental Protection

Gallup released a survey in which Americans answered whether they felt the protection of the environment or the growth of the economy should be given a higher priority.  Since 2009, Americans have placed a higher priority on economic growth.  Though that gap was at its highest with an 18 percent difference in early 2011, Americans still favor economic growth over environmental protection by a 49% to 41% margin.  Until the recession hit in 2007, most Americans prioritized environmental protection, but as the economy weakened, the difference shrunk. Beginning in 2009, more Americans favored improving the economy before protecting the environment.  This trend is remarkably new.  Before the recession, Americans clearly prioritized the environment over economic growth; in 1991, the difference was 51% in favor of the environment.  That gap narrowed during the new millennium.  The BP oil spill in 2010 raised more concerns about the environment, but this trend was short-lived.  Among the political parties, 66% of those who are registered Republicans will prioritize economic development compared to just 27% favoring environmental protection.  On the other hand, 50% of Democrats still prioritize the environment over economic growth.


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