Friday, March 13, 2009

New Gallup Polls - Congress and Climate Change

It’s Friday, March 13, 2009. Here’s what we’re looking at:

Two new polls released by Gallup lately give interesting signs about the American electorate.

The first is Congressional approval ratings. This month, Americans gave Congress a four-year high mark. 39% of Americans approve of the job Congress is doing.

Republicans were quick to point out that is was Democrats that were particularly supportive of the 111th Congress. One GOP aide told Politico

"It seems to show a widening of a partisan divide, not the post-partisan Nirvana we were promised. The increase is all from Democrats,” the aide said. “Gallup has another poll out today that shows eight out of 10 Democrats trust government more than they trust the private sector. So it’s little wonder that Democrats like this Congress — they’re making government bigger each and every day."

It is partially true. Democratic approval of Congress has surged from 17% in the beginning of the year to 57% in March. Independents, however, are also giving Congress higher marks - up from 17% in January to 34% in March.

Even Republican approval hasn’t dropped too much - down just 1% from the beginning of the year.

Pleased with these numbers, the DNC launched a new "Party of No" clock on their website. It features a picture of John Boehner, Eric Cantor, and Mitch McConnell wearing “no” buttons. The goal is to pressure the Republicans into offering an alternative to President Obama’s proposed budget, or to get in line and support it.

The second Gallup poll released Wednesday found that Americans are becoming more skeptical towards the severity of global warming. 41% of Americans now believe that the seriousness of climate change is exaggerated by the news media.

Republicans and older Americans are among the most skeptical.

There is also a significant drop in the number of people who believe the effects of global warming have already began.

The “Bottom Line” according to Gallup:

Americans generally believe global warming is real. That sets the U.S. public apart from the global-warming skeptics who assembled this week in New York City to try to debunk the science behind climate change. At the same time, with only 34% of Americans saying they worry "a great deal" about the problem, most Americans do not view the issue in the same dire terms as the many prominent leaders advancing global warming as an issue.

Importantly, Gallup's annual March update on the environment shows a drop in public concern about global warming across several different measures, suggesting that the global warming message may have lost some footing with Americans over the past year.

This may have interesting implications to Government action on green technology and climate change legislation over the next year.

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