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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Energy and the Environment? Now That You Mention It, He’s Doing a Bad Job There, Too

On Earth Day, Gallup released some data on the public’s view of Bush’s environmental record. Not surprisingly, it’s pretty negative.
On protecting the environment, half now say he’s doing a poor job, compared to just 39 percent who say he’s doing a good job. That’s down from 51 percent who thought he was doing a good job at the beginning of his first presidential term.
And on improving energy policy, his rating is even worse: only 32 percent think he’s doing a good job in that area, 26 points down from the 58 percent who thought so at the beginning of his first term.
As for whether progress is being made on the environment, the public is quite pessimistic. Right now, 63 percent say it is getting worse, more than twice the number who think it is getting better (29 percent).
The poll also shows that the public prefers a generally activist approach to improving the environment. As Gallup’s report on the poll notes:

….When asked if they “think the U.S. government is doing too much, too little, or about the right amount in terms of protecting the environment” a clear majority of Americans (58%) say “too little” and only a small minority (5%) say “too much.” These figures represent the highest ratio of “too little” to “too much” observed since 1992, and a continuing increase in support for governmental action since a low point in March 2003 when 51% held this view.
Such results demonstrate that the vast majority of Americans do not want to see a reduction in the government’s environmental protection efforts (as 92% respond that it is doing “too little” or “about the right amount”).
Similarly, Americans continue to favor the environment when asked to choose between environmental protection and economic growth. After dipping slightly below 50% last year, a majority (53%) once again says that protection of the environment should be given priority, when environmental protection conflicts with economic growth.

Ipsos-AP have released new data specifically on energy problems and how well Bush is handling them. The verdict: not well at all.
In the poll, exactly twice as many (62 percent) say Bush is not handling the nation’s energy problems effectively as say he is (31 percent). The poll also finds 88 percent saying that the higher gas prices affect them personally either a lot (55 percent) or some (33 percent) and 51 percent saying that gas price increases will cause them financial hardship in the next six month, including 30 percent who describe the hardship as “serious”.
In terms of specific actions due to increased energy prices, 60 percent say they’ve turned down the heat or air conditioning in their home, 58 percent have reduced the amount of driving they do and 57 percent have cut back on other expenses.
Energy and the environment: two more areas where the public is apparently starting to run out of patience with the Bush administration’s failures.