For the first time since 2008, except for a brief time following the BP spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Americans are telling Gallup pollsters by a 9% margin that the environment is more important than economic growth. Perhaps not surprisingly, the results are split between Republicans and Democrats: two-thirds of Democrats say the environment should be prioritized higher, while about one-third of Republicans say the same thing. Gallup states that this is the largest partisan gulf since 1997, mainly as result of the sharp rise among Democrats prioritizing the environment higher than economic growth:
The percentage of Democrats choosing the environment over economic growth surged 11 percentage points in the past year and 20 points since 2011. This increase suggests that Democrats may believe the economy is improving and it is now acceptable to favour protecting the environment, even if it curbs economic growth. The 66% of Democrats who prioritize the environment over economic growth is the highest since 2000.
The percentage giving priority to the environment appears to decline with age: 60% of 18-29 year olds choose environment over economic growth while only 39% of those aged 65 and over make the same choice.
A detailed analysis of the poll results, which were taken earlier this month and for which the margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points at the 95% confidence level, is available at http://www.gallup.com/poll/168017/americans-again-pick-environment-economic-growth.aspx