DSM and POET form major JV for cellulosic bioethanol; POET to decline $105M DOE loan guarantee
BMW Group Technology Office USA and Tendril to demonstrate electric vehicle and smart energy home integration

Pew survey finds US public ranks economy as highest priority policy issue, global warming as lowest

The US public is giving the highest priority to economic issues, according to the findings of the Pew Research Center For The People & The Press January 2012 Political Survey. 86% say that strengthening the economy should be a top priority for the president and Congress this year, and 82% rate improving the job situation as a top priority. None of the other 20 issues tested in this annual survey rate as a top priority for more than 70% of Americans. Only 25% called global warming a top priority, a decrease of 13 percentage points over 5 years.

Top policy priorities for 2012. Source: Pew. Click to enlarge.

More generally, the public’s concerns rest more with domestic policy than at any point in the past 15 years; 81% say Obama should be focused on domestic policy, just 9% say foreign policy. In keeping with this, defending against terrorism and strengthening the military are given less priority today than over the course of the past decade.

The new poll finds that the federal budget deficit stands out as the fastest growing policy priority for Americans, largely because of growing Republican concerns about the issue. In the national survey, conducted 11-16 January among 1,502 adults, 69% rate reducing the budget deficit as a top priority—the most in any of the Pew Research Center’s annual policy priority updates going back to 1994.

The number of Republicans rating the budget deficit as a top priority has spiked to 84% from 68% a year ago and just 42% five years ago. Meanwhile Republicans are placing far less emphasis on terrorism, which was their top priority in every year between 2002 and 2008. Today 72% rate it as a top priority, down from 83% a year ago and 93% five years ago. By contrast, the emphasis Democrats and independents give to terrorism and the budget deficit has changed far less.

No issue divides partisans more than the importance of environmental protection: 58% of Democrats say it is a top priority, compared with just 27% of Republicans. Of the 22 items tested, environmental protection is one of the lowest GOP priorities, along with such issues as improving transportation infrastructure and campaign finance reform. Dealing with the nation’s energy problems, by contrast, is of equal importance to both Republicans (55% top priority) and Democrats (57%), though other recent surveys suggest that partisans have very different solutions in mind.

Since it was first tested on the annual policy priorities list in 2007, the share of Americans who view dealing with global warming as a top priority has slipped from 38% to 25%. Democrats (38%) are far more likely than Republicans (11%) to rate this as a top priority. But the decline has occurred across party lines: In 2007, 48% of Democrats rated dealing with global warming as a top priority, as did 23% of Republicans.



"Pew survey finds US public ranks economy as highest priority policy issue, global warming as lowest"....okay, on the count of three - 1, 2, 3, DUUHHHHHHHHHH. Apparently Obama didn't get the memo - too busy crafting empty speeches filled with feel good sounding rhetoric to be a real leader.

Mark Schaffer

Well ejj, The American Public appears to be as completely clueless as you do. Must make you feel proud to embrace such total ignorance. Meanwhile:http://www.skepticalscience.com/2011-hottest-la-nina-year-11th-hottest-overall.html
"2011 Hottest La Niña Year on Record, 11th-Hottest Overall (NOAA)
By Zachary Shahan

The U.S. National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) and the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) both released their final evaluations of global temperatures in 2011 yesterday. They provide two of the longest-standing and most reliable annual evaluations of the climate, using data from the Goddard Institute for Space Studies (GISS) and National Climatic Data Center (NCDC).

While there are always going to be slight differences (since they use slightly different methodologies and instruments for collecting the data), their trends, as well as those from other notable temperature databases, line up pretty closely. Here’s a 2010 graph of global temperature anomalies from these databases (as well as a few others) since 1890, to give you a graphic example of this: (see article for graph)"


It takes time for a nation of 300+ million to develop awareness and understand the underlying forces responsible for the:

1. severely busted national economy.
2. lost of many million jobs.
3. multiple effects on national security and terrorism.
4. increasing trade and budget deficits.
5. negative effects of under-regulated lobbies, speculators and banks etc.
6. negative effects of unfair taxes, subsidies and hand outs.
7. long term effects on education, social security, health care etc.

As long as the above major issues are not understood, the general public is not in a position to offer a learned opinion on the other questions asked.


The Republicans crash the economy by legalizing sub prime and then say shovel the coal into the furnace at the power plants...amazing.

Mark Schaffer

Hello HarveyD,
Time is what we are rapidly running out of.


The architect of the subprime loan & the crash...the Banking Queen....



The number of Republicans rating the budget deficit as a top priority has spiked to 84% from 68% a year ago and just 42% five years ago.

The Republicans' shameless cynicism was perfectly captured by Vice President Dick Cheney, who in 2002 proclaimed, "Reagan proved deficits don't matter."

Not, that is, if a Republican is in the White House. But when Barack Obama stepped into the Oval Office and the $1.2 trillion deficit George W. Bush left for him there, the GOP quickly changed its tune. While the national debt tripled under Ronald Reagan and doubled again under President Bush, House Minority Leader John Boehner decried the $787 billion emergency economic recovery spending as "one big down payment on a new American socialist experiment."

Meanwhile, those of us who during the Reagan years said "deficits DO matter" are also the ones telling you now (as then) "AGW is a real problem that we have to solve." We were right then and the data says we are right now, so the smart thing to do is to go with the side with a proven track-record of getting it right; http://www.blogforarizona.com/blog/2010/07/why-elections-matter-the-economy-always-does-better-under-democrats.html


Higher budget deficits are some of the best proven tools to transfer more and more wealth from the general (poorer) public to the 3% (and countries like China, Saudi Arabia etc) who have the funds to buy government bonds. That's why it is so popular with the (R) party.


Bush added $6 TRILLION to the national debt. Republican Senator Gramm from Texas added the provision in a 1999 law that said CDO/CDS which created the sub prime melt down would be regulated by NO ONE.


By the way, how would you like to have NET earnings of $45M and pay only 13.9% in Income Taxes and want to pay even less after the next elections.


The Banking Queen in 2005: Housing Bubble? What Housing Bubble?




Roger Pham

The public need to realize that continued global warming will destroy the economy by turning semi-arid areas into wastelands and deserts, sea water will overrun low-lying coastal areas, and the combination of droughts and floods will wreak tens of billions of dollars of economic damages yearly.

On the other hand, the move toward renewable energy will bring tens of millions of new jobs to the local economy everywhere, and will keep them working, due to the fact that renewable energy collectors are labor-intensive to maintain. Job created that can't be out-sourced.

Sometimes learning the hard way will be the only way the public will learn. As more record heat and drought and flooding will wreak havoc on the USA and China and Australia and elsewhere in the coming years, people will pay more attention to the dangers of Climate Change! Fortunately, we will soon if not already have the technology to deploy renewable energy at competitive costs to fossil fuels.


SJC - You hit the nail on the head when you brought up Phil Gramm. That A**Hole should be tried for treason and hung on the Capitol steps. He's the slime that sneaked Credit Default Swaps into a must pass bill in the middle of the night during December 2000.

All of our current economic problems were caused by that crook.


At a situation like this the most sensible thing to do is to restart federal research on Thorium fueled Molten Salt Reactors. This is a direct play on energy security, but it also fights greenhouse gas in the long term.

The US military can act as early adopters and run a number of power plants until the private sector takes over.

Maybe the public view will change once we have energy security.


Fortunately, the (D) party will save America from greed and the other party.


The (R) party seems to want more debt and war, that is what we have gotten from them the last 30 years with trickle down borrow and waste.


The thing we have to remember is that this is just a survey - a poll on what people believe. It can't say anything about the science of AGW, only how well the facts have been communicated. And science is very hard to communicate to some people;

Richard Slay

TexasDesert, I had the same idea of the military operating nuclear reactors to deal with security fears. Then the Ft. Hood shootings occurred, and I realized that there really isn't any such thing as perfect security. However, the fact that Americans spend as much on the military as the rest of the world put together indicates that we can't grasp that concept.

Then came Fukushima, and well, if the Army can't secure a base full of tanks in Texas and the Japanese can't get their engineering right, it really is hopeless.

HarveyD, all budget deficits are not equal, just as all government dollars are not equal. We had staggering budget deficits during WW2, yet the country became less unequal and grew like crazy. We raised taxes on the rich sky-high for 25 years to pay for 4 years of war, and sold war bonds to the lower classes. The poor got repaid and bought houses and cars, the rich were starved of cash to blow on stock and real estate bubbles. Reagan chose to finance the last phase of the Cold War in the opposite way that FDR funded WW2, and got opposite results. Furthermore, WW2 war production created mass employment while the goods were well-built and cheap (P-51 fighter = $50,000 in WW2 $). Today's Military-Industrial complex produces fewer and fewer jobs to create smaller lots of ever more esoteric and questionable weapons that don't seem to win the wars we now choose to fight. So the modern deficit produces very different results than the 1945 deficit.

The comments to this entry are closed.