Americans’ dissatisfaction with the quality of the environment is at an all-time high, Gallup reported Monday.
In a poll of 1,024 Americans conducted last month, 45 percent said they were satisfied with “the quality of the environment in the nation,” while 52 percent said they were dissatisfied. This is the lowest level of satisfaction and the highest level of dissatisfaction in Gallup’s 18-year trend.
It’s also the first time more than half of Americans were dissatisfied.
Why the big leap this year? “Changes to environmental regulations have been among the Trump administration’s most sweeping policy reversals,” noted Gallup, including Trump’s announcement he will withdraw this country from the Paris climate accord.
Interestingly, the last time Americans were close to this level of dissatisfaction was back in 2007, which coincided with a spike in concern about global warming and its effects. Gallup notes that previous spike could be related to the 2006 release of the Al Gore documentary, An Inconvenient Truth, as well as “President George W. Bush’s waning popularity.”
Of course, Trump’s popularity waned a whole lot earlier in his administration. But there seems little doubt that rising concern over climate change and Trump’s climate policies is also major factor in this new spike.
Indeed, in a poll last March, Gallup found that Americans’ concern about global warming had reached a reach a record high under Trump (see chart above).
Gallup notes that the latest drop in satisfaction was driven by a record 15 percentage point drop in Democratic satisfaction, coupled with a 5 percentage point drop in independents’ satisfaction.
At the same time, however, Republicans’ satisfaction with the quality of the nation’s environment jumped 5 points to a remarkable 69 percent over the past year. That’s quite remarkable given that Trump’s own EPA released a study last fall concluding that simply undoing the Obama-era rule aimed at cutting carbon pollution could kill 100,000 Americans by 2050.
Back in 2016, Trump famously said “I could stand in the middle of 5th Avenue and shoot somebody and I wouldn’t lose voters.” So Trump can do pretty much the same thing by gutting the environmental laws aimed at protecting public health — and apparently get the same result.