Washington Post-ABC News Poll: Environment Trends

The Washington Post
Friday, April 20, 2007

This Washington Post-ABC News-Stanford University poll was conducted by telephone April 5-10, 2007, among a random national sample of 1,002 adults. The results have a three-point error margin. Sampling, data collection and tabulation by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. How would you rate the condition of the natural environment in the world today - excellent, good, fair, poor, or very poor?

             --- Excellent/Good ---          --- Poor/Very Poor ---     No      
            NET   Excellent   Good   Fair   NET   Poor   Very poor   opinion   
4/10/07     22        3        20     41    36     26        9          *
3/14/06     24        3        21     43    33     25        8          *

2. What in your opinion is the single biggest environmental problem the world faces at this time?

2a. (IF AIR POLLUTION OR POLLUTION UNSPECIFIED, Q2) What about (air pollution/pollution) do you have in mind?

                                                         4/10/07  3/14/06
Global warming/greenhouse effect/climate change            33       16
Air pollution                                              13       13
Energy problems/dependence on fossil fuels/lack of oil      6        8
Toxic substances in environment                             6        7
Water pollution                                             5        6
Pollution (unspecified)                                     4        4
Miscellaneous pollution mentions                            4        3
Destruction/fragmentation/loss of habitat, rain forests, 
  wetlands, forests, open spaces; overdevelopment;
  logging and mining                                        4        7
Waste/landfills/not enough recycling                        3        9
Overpopulation/over-consumption                             3        4
Oil drilling/oil tankers                                    1        2
Saving natural resources                                    1        3
Tsunami/tidal wave/earthquake/natural disasters             *        1
Acid rain                                                   *        *
Spread of invasive non-native species                       *        *
Extinction of species                                       0        *
None                                                        1        2
Other                                                       7        8
No opinion                                                  8        7

3. How much do you trust the things that scientists say about the environment - completely, a lot, a moderate amount, a little, or not at all?


          ------- Trust --------   Moderate   ------ Do not trust -----    No      
          NET   Completely   Lot    amount    NET   Little   Not at all   opin.   
4/10/07   32         5        27      43      24      19          5         1 
3/14/06   31         5        27      41      27      22          5         1

4. Would you say that weather patterns in the county where you live have been more (stable) in the last three years than before that, more (unstable), or about the same?


           More      More     About the     Haven't lived in area        No
          stable   unstable     same      long enough to know (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07      2        54         41                    2                  1
3/14/06      3        52         43                    2                  *

5. Would you say that average temperatures in the county where you live have been (higher) in the last three years than before that, (lower), or about the same

                             About the     Haven't lived in area        No
            Higher   Lower     same      long enough to know (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07       41      17        38                  3                    1
3/14/06       50       9        37                  2                    1

6. As far as you know, would you say that average temperatures around the world have been (higher) in the last three years than before that, (lower), or about the same?

            Higher   Lower   About the same   No opinion
4/10/07       56       9          28                7 
3/14/06       56       8          33                3

7. You may have heard about the idea that the world's temperature may have been going up slowly over the past 100 years. What is your personal opinion on this - do you think this has probably been happening, or do you think it probably hasn't been happening?

            Has been    Hasn't been     No 
            happening    happening    opinion
4/10/07        84           13           3
3/14/06        85           13           2 
2/13/98*       80           18           2
10/5/97*       76           22           2
*Ohio State University poll

8. How sure are you that the world's temperature (has/hasn't) been going up - extremely sure, very sure, somewhat sure, or not sure at all?

7/8: "Has been happening" 

            -------- Sure --------   -------- Less sure --------     No      
            NET   Extremely   Very   NET   Somewhat   Not at all   opinion   
4/10/07     49       17        32    50      40          10           1 
3/14/06     45       19        26    55      44          11           *
2/13/98*    43       15        27    57      40          16           *
10/5/97*    44       14        30    56      44          12           *      
*Ohio State University poll

7/8: "Has not been happening"

            -------- Sure --------   -------- Less sure --------     No      
            NET   Extremely   Very   NET   Somewhat   Not at all   opinion   
4/10/07     33       10        23    67      48          19           0 
3/14/06     34       10        24    66      38          28           0
2/13/98*    30       11        18    69      39          30           1
10/5/97*    34       11        24    66      31          34           0  
*Ohio State University poll

7/8 NET:

          ------ Has been happening ----   --- Has not been happening ---
               ----- Sure about it -----        ----- Sure about it -----   No 
          NET  Ext.  Very  Somewhat  Not   NET  Ext.  Very  Somewhat  Not   op.
4/10/07   84   15     27      34      8    13    1      3      6       2     3 
3/14/06   85   16     22      37      9    13    1      3      5       4     2 
2/13/98*  80   12     22      32     13    18    2      3      7       5     1 
10/5/97*  76   11     23      33      9    22    2      5      7       7     2 
*Ohio State University poll


9. Do you think a rise in the world's temperatures is being caused mostly by things people do, mostly by natural causes, or about equally by things people do and by natural causes?**

        
            Things people do   Natural causes   About equally   No opinion
4/10/07            41               17               42              *
3/14/06            31               19               49              1
**For Q9, Q13, Q14, if respondent not sure in Q8, "Assuming it's happening" and "would be" or "could be" were asked.  For Q12, if respondent not sure in Q8, "Assuming it's happening" was inserted.

10. How important is the issue of global warming to you personally - extremely important, very important, somewhat important, not too important, or not at all important?

                      
            ------ Important -----           ------ Not important -----    No      
            NET   Extremely   Very   Smwht   NET   Not too   Not at all   opin.   
4/10/07     52       18        34      30    17       8          9          *  
3/14/06     49       17        33      32    18      10          8          *
2/13/98*    31        9        21      49    20      15          5          *         
10/5/97*    27        7        20      47    26      20          6          *    
*Ohio State University poll

11. How much do you feel you know about global warming - a lot, a moderate amount, a little, or nothing?

            --- Lot/Moderate ---   --- Little/Nothing ---     No      
            NET   Lot   Moderate   NET   Little   Nothing   opinion   
4/10/07     62    11       51      37      33         4        * 
3/14/06     58    11       47      42      36         6        *         
2/13/98*    44     5       39      56      46        10        *
10/5/97*    43     5       38      57      51         7        0 
*Ohio State University poll

12. If nothing is done to reduce global warming in the future, how serious of a problem do you think it will be - very serious, somewhat serious, not so serious or not serious at all?

            ------ Serious ------     ------ Not serious -----     No
            NET   Very   Somewhat     NET   Not so   No at all   opinion
4/10/07     86     57       29        13       8         4          2  
3/14/06*    85     57       28        13       8         5          2
* " will be for the world"

13. How much do you think can be done to reduce the amount of future global warming - a great deal, a good amount, just some, or hardly anything?

            ------- More ------     ------------- Less ------------
                 Great    Good            Just    Hardly    Nothing      No
            NET   deal   amount     NET   some   anything   (vol.)     opinion
4/10/07     63     27      36       36     20       15        1           1   
3/14/06     62     31      31       36     19       16        1           2

14. How much do you think can be done to reduce global warming's effects on people and the environment - a great deal, a good amount, just some, or hardly anything?

            ------- More ------     ------------- Less ------------
                 Great    Good            Just    Hardly    Nothing      No
            NET   deal   amount     NET   some   anything   (vol.)     opinion 
4/10/07     63     25      38       36     23       13        1           1  
3/14/06     60     28      32       39     22       16        1           1

15. Do you think the federal government should do more than it's doing now to try to deal with global warming, should do less than it's doing now, or is it doing about the right amount? IF MORE: Should it do much more or somewhat more? IF LESS: Should it do much less or somewhat less?

 
            ------- More --------    Right   -------- Less -------     No      
            NET   Much   Somewhat   amount   NET   Somewhat   Much   opinion   
4/10/07     70     49       20        21      7        2        5       2  
3/14/06     68     46       22        25      5        2        3       1

16. Do you think most scientists agree with one another about whether or not global warming is happening, or do you think there is a lot of disagreement among scientists on this issue?

      
            Most agree   A lot of disagreement   No opinion
4/10/07        40                 56                  3
3/14/06        35                 64                  1
2/13/98*       30                 67                  3
10/5/97*       35                 62                  3
*Ohio State University poll

17. (IF MOST AGREE) Do you think most scientists believe that global warming is happening or is not happening?

            Is happening   Is not happening   No opinion
4/10/07          99                1               0
3/14/06          98                2               0  
2/13/98*         98                2               *
10/5/97*         98                2               0
*Ohio State University poll

16/17 NET:

           ------ Scientists agree -----   Scientists     No
           NET  Happening  Not happening    disagree    opinion
4/10/07    40      40           *             56           3 
3/14/06    35      34           1             64           1 
2/13/98*   30      29           1             67           3
10/5/97*   35      34           1             62           3 
*Ohio State University poll

18. For each of the following, please tell me whether you favor or oppose it as a way for the federal government to try to reduce future global warming:

4/10/07 - Summary Table
                                                                            No
                                                           Favor   Oppose   op.             
a. Increase taxes on electricity so people use less of it   20       79      1      
b. Increase taxes on gasoline so people either drive less, 
   or buy cars that use less gas                            32       67      1   

Trend:
                                                                        
a. Increase taxes on electricity so people use less of it   

            Favor     Oppose     No opinion
4/10/07      20         79             1
3/14/06      19         81             *

b. Increase taxes on gasoline so people either drive less, or buy cars that use less gas   

            Favor     Oppose     No opinion
4/10/07      32         67             1
3/14/06      31         68             1

19. For the next items, please tell me for each one whether it's something the government should require by law, encourage with tax breaks but not require, or stay out of entirely.

4/10/07 - Summary Table
                                                                           No
                                          Require   Encourage   Stay out   op.                         
a. Building cars that use less gasoline      42        44          14       1
b. Building air conditioners, refrigerators 
   and other appliances that use less 
   electricity                               36        43          19       1              
c. Building new homes and offices that use
   less energy for heating and cooling       30        51          17       9 
d. Lowering the amount of greenhouse gases 
   that power plants are allowed to release 
   into the air                              62        26          10       3

Trend:

a. Building cars that use less gasoline

            Require     Encourage     Stay out     No opinion
4/10/07        42          44            14              1
3/14/06        45          40            15              *  

b. Building air conditioners, refrigerators and other appliances that use less 
   electricity   

            Require     Encourage     Stay out     No opinion
4/10/07        36          43            19              1
3/14/06        42          41            17              1                              

c. Building new homes and offices that use less energy for heating and cooling       

            Require     Encourage     Stay out     No opinion
4/10/07        30          51            17              9
3/14/06        33          51            15              1                              

d. Lowering the amount of greenhouse gases that power plants are allowed to release into the air                              

            Require     Encourage     Stay out     No opinion
4/10/07        62          26            10              3
3/14/06        61          26            11              2                              

20. Scientists use the term "global warming" to refer to the idea that the world's average temperature may be about five degrees Fahrenheit higher in 75 years than it is now. Overall, would you say that global warming would be good, bad, or neither good nor bad? IF GOOD: Would you say it would be very good or somewhat good? IF BAD: Would you say it would be very bad or somewhat bad? (IF NEITHER) Do you lean toward thinking it would be good, lean toward thinking it would be bad, or don't you lean either way?

           -------- Good -------             -------- Bad --------     No
           NET  Very  Smwh  Lean   Neither   NET  Lean  Smwh  Very   opinion  
4/10/07     8     2      4     1     21      69      4   25    40       3
10/5/97*   16     4      8     4     22      61      5   31    25       2
*Ohio State University poll

21. Who do you trust to do a better job handling (ITEM), (George W. Bush) or (the Democrats in Congress)? How about (NEXT ITEM)?

a. The environment overall 

            George W.      Democrats      Both equally     Neither       No   
              Bush        in Congress        (vol.)         (vol.)     opinion 
4/10/07        21              53              1             20           4     

b. Global warming

            George W.      Democrats      Both equally     Neither       No   
              Bush        in Congress        (vol.)         (vol.)     opinion 
4/10/07        19              59              1             17           4     

c. Issues involving the national parks

            George W.      Democrats      Both equally     Neither       No   
              Bush        in Congress        (vol.)         (vol.)     opinion 
4/10/07        24              57              1             12           6     

22. Do you think the federal government should or should not allow oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska?

             Yes     No     No opinion
4/10/07       40     56          4
6/5/05        48     49          4
4/21/02       43     50          7   
1/27/02       48     48          4                                     
4/22/01       41     55          4                                     
1/15/01       38     56          5                                     
5/13/89*      26     60         13                                     
*"Do you think the federal government should allow new oil drilling..."

23. Have you ever visited a national park in the United States, or not? IF YES: How often do you visit national parks: at least once a year, once every couple of years or less frequently than that?

       
            ----------------- Yes -----------------
                 Once a      Every     Less frequent              No
            NET   year   couple years    than that       No     opinion 
4/10/07     77     25          18            33          22        1  

24. (IF VISIT MORE THAN EVERY FEW YEARS) Overall compared to five or so years ago, do you think the country's national parks are better, worse or about the same?

            Better     Worse     About the same     No opinion
4/10/07       18        21             60                 2   

25. Given what you know, do you think the national parks are (well managed) overall, or (poorly managed)?

            Well managed     Poorly managed     No opinion
4/10/07          72                18                10

26. What do you think should be a higher priority in management of the country's national parks? (protecting natural habitats and wildlife), or (providing public access for recreational use)?

           Protecting natural     Providing public access    Both      No
          habitats and wildlife     for recreational use    (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07            79                        13                7        1

27. And regardless of your own preference, which of these do you think is currently getting a higher priority in the management of the country's national parks? (protecting natural habitats and wildlife), or (providing public access for recreational use)?

           Protecting natural     Providing public access    Both      No
          habitats and wildlife     for recreational use    (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07            34                        56                2        8

28. Thinking for a moment about the world's oceans, how much does (ITEM) concern you - a great deal, a good amount, just some or hardly at all? How about (NEXT ITEM)?

a. Depletion of fish stocks through overfishing

          -- Concerned --   -------- Not Concerned ---------
               Grt  Good         Just   Hardly    Not at      Not happen-   No  
          NET  dl   amt     NET  some   at all   all (vol.)   ing (vol.)    op.  
4/10/07   64   38   25      36    23      11         2             *         1

b. Pollution of the oceans

          -- Concerned --   -------- Not Concerned ---------
               Grt  Good         Just   Hardly    Not at      Not happen-   No  
          NET  dl   amt     NET  some   at all   all (vol.)   ing (vol.)    op.
4/10/07   78   52   25      22    16       5         1             0         *

c. a rise in sea level due to global warming

          -- Concerned --   -------- Not Concerned ---------
               Grt  Good         Just   Hardly    Not at      Not happen-   No  
          NET  dl   amt     NET  some   at all   all (vol.)   ing (vol.)    op.
4/10/07   58   35   23      40    22      15         3             *         2

29. Do you think the federal government should do (more) to regulate commercial fishing in U.S. waters, should it do (less) or should it leave the rules as they are?

            More     Less      Leave rules as they are     No opinion
4/10/07      51        3                  41                    5

30. On another subject, how willing are you personally to change some of the things you do in order to help improve the environment - very willing, somewhat willing, not so willing or not willing at all?

          ------ Willing ------   ------ Not Willing ------   Depends     No
          NET   Very   Somewhat   NET   Not so   Not at all   (vol.)    opinion
4/10/07   94     50       44       5       3          3         1          *  

31. (IF WILLING) What if it means some personal inconvenience - would you be as willing to change some of the things you do, or less so?

            Still willing     Less willing     Depends (vol.)     No opinion
4/10/07           85                7                7                  1  

30/31 NET:

           -------------- Willing ---------------   
                                Depends     No         Not      Depends    No
           NET   Still   Less    (vol.)   opinion    willing    (vol.)     op.  
4/10/07    94      80      7       7         1          5          1        *    

32. Knowing that it's hard to follow through on such things, how much effort have you made to reduce energy consumption in your own home - a great deal, a good amount, just some, or hardly any?

          -------- Effort ---------   -------- No Effort ---------      No 
          NET   Grt deal   Good amt   NET   Just some   Hardly any   opinion
4/10/07   73       31         42      26        20           7          *

33. What about letting your home be a little warmer than you like it in the summer or a little cooler than you like it in the winter - is that something you'd be willing to do to help improve the environment, or not?

            Would be     Would NOT      Already do         No
            willing      be willing     that (vol.)      opinion 
4/10/07        67             7             26              *

34. In your household do you currently recycle trash such as paper, plastic, glass and metal cans, or not?

            ------------ Recycle ------------
                         Recycle some items     
            NET   Yes   but not others (vol.)     No     No opinion
4/10/07     75    70              5               25           *   

35. Is household trash recycling required by law in the area where you live, or not required?

            ------------ Recycle ------------
                        To recycle some items     
            NET   Yes   but not others (vol.)     No     No opinion
4/10/07     20    20              1               76           4   

36. As far as you're aware when's the last time you or someone else checked the tire pressure on your car - was it within the last month, within the last few months, or longer ago than that?

Among car owners (95%):
 
          Within the     Within the      Longer ago     No  
          last month   last few months   than that    opinion
4/10/07       68             24              8           *

37. As far as you know, do you happen to have a low-flow showerhead or low-volume toilet to reduce water use in your home, or not?

          ---------------------- Yes -----------------------
                Have     Have showerhead    Have toilet not            No
          NET  either   not toilet (vol.)  showerhead (vol.)   No   opinion
4/10/07   69     51            10                 9            22      9

38. Do you use any compact fluorescent light bulbs in your home, or not? Those are the ones that last longer but cost more than regular light bulbs.

            Yes     No     No opinion
4/10/07     70      28           2

39. Would you support or oppose a law in your area (READ ITEM)? How about a law (NEXT ITEM)?

a. (IF ONLY RECYCLE SOME ITEMS OR NONE AT ALL) requiring household trash recycling 

            Support     Oppose     No opinion
4/10/07        74         25             1

b. requiring low-flow showerheads? 

            Support     Oppose     Already required (vol.)     No opinion
4/10/07        59         36                  1                      4

c. requiring all newly installed toilets to be low-volume toilets

            Support     Oppose     Already required (vol.)     No opinion
4/10/07        71         24                  3                      2

d. requiring the use of compact fluorescent light bulbs

            Support     Oppose     No opinion
4/10/07        56         41             3

e. requiring supermarkets to use shopping bags made of paper or other material that can be recycled 

            Support     Oppose     No opinion
4/10/07        82         16             2

40. When you go shopping and you're deciding what to buy, do you (consider the manufacturer's environmental record), or do you (decide mainly on the basis of price and quality)?

 Consider   Decide mainly on basis   Neither    Both      No
           record     of price and quality    (vol.)    (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07      11                 79              2         7         1 

41. And when you decide where to shop, do you consider the store's environmental policies, or do you decide mainly on the basis of other factors, such as convenience, prices and brands?

          Consider   Consider other    Both      No
           record        factors      (vol.)   opinion
4/10/07       8             87          5         1


© 2007 The Washington Post Company