Equilibrium & Sustainability

Gallup finds worries about environment have grown since Trump

Climate advocates are seen during a press conference on Wednesday, December 1, 2021 to discuss climate change provisions in the Build Back Better Act.
Greg Nash

A new poll from Gallup finds that nearly half of all Americans worry “a great deal” about the environment, and that concerns have risen since before former President Trump took office.

According to the poll, 44 percent of respondents said they worry a great deal about the environment, while 27 percent worry a fair amount and 28 percent worry a little or not at all.

Gallup said it is unclear whether the rising worries about the environment since Trump are directly related to his presidency. Trump has doubted the effects of climate change and his administration moved to roll back Obama-era plans to lower greenhouse gas emissions. Trump was also a proponent of the coal industry.

“The environment is more of a concern to Americans today than it was before Trump took office,” Gallup researchers wrote. “It’s not clear whether Trump’s presidency was the sole catalyst behind heightened concern among Democrats and independents during this period, or if his term merely coincided with worsening news about environmental problems, but the signal is unambiguous.”

Since Gallup began tracking the question of how much Americans are worried about the environment in 2001, the percentage of U.S. residents worried “a great deal” about the issue has wavered between 31 percent and 47 percent.

Worries about the environment cover a wide range of issues, including climate change and global warming, human developments, air pollution, water pollution, protection of natural areas and preservation of important waterways and wildlife.

Most Americans, about 57 percent, are worried about polluted drinking water, more than any other category, according to the Gallup poll.

Americans ranking the environmental quality in the U.S. as “poor” reached an all-time high in 2022, with 18 percent of respondents saying so, compared to the the past two decades. At the same time, the precentage of Americans ranking the environment as “excellent” or good fell to its lowest mark, with 39 percent of those surveyed saying so.

About 43 percent of all Americans are worried about climate change. Rising global temperatures have been tied to raging wildfires, more frequent hurricanes and melting sea ice, and scientists have warned of more devastating consequences unless emissions are brought down.

A major United Nations report revealed on Monday that the world is likely to overtake a crucial environmental threshold needed to curb the devastating effects of climate change.

The world needs to hold average global temperatures to 1.5 degrees Celsius higher compared to pre-industrial levels, but the report says the globe will likely pass that mark and efforts will be needed to bring it back down.

Democrats have been more vocal about tackling climate change, which is exemplified in the poll. About 56 percent of Democrats surveyed were worried a great deal about the environment, compared to 24 percent of Republicans.

In the past two decades, as high a percentage as 69 percent of Democrats have expressed worries about the environment, while the number of Republicans concerned has dropped to as low as 13 percent.

Gallup’s March 1-18 poll was conducted among 1,017 U.S. adults across the U.S. The margin of sampling error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.

Tags Climate Change Climate change environment Environment Gallup Gallup poll Trump

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