NEW YORK – The latest FOX News poll finds that Americans would choose saving jobs over protecting an endangered species. In addition, over half think the effects of global terrorism will pose a more serious threat to the world in the coming decades than the effects of global climate change. At the same time, a sizable majority believes that recycling helps the planet, and that the benefits to the environment make it worth purchasing energy-efficient light bulbs, even at a significantly higher cost.
By a 50 percent to 29 percent margin, the public would rather save 1,000 jobs in their state than protect land that is home to an endangered species.
"When asked in a vacuum, voters generally support most actions taken to protect the environment," Opinion Dynamics Vice President Lawrence Shiman said. "However, as is the case with many issues, responses are far more mixed when people are forced to make choices between important issues."
Republicans (57 percent) are 13 percentage points more likely than Democrats (44 percent) to say they would protect the jobs, and those living in the Northeast (54 percent) are 11 points more likely than those living in the West (43 percent) to choose the jobs over the endangered species.
Westerners, those living in higher income households and Democrats are among those most likely to say they would protect the endangered species; even so, pluralities of each of these groups would pick protecting the local jobs.
Opinion Dynamics Corp. conducted the national telephone poll of 900 registered voters for FOX News from June 5 to June 6. The poll has a 3-point error margin.
Looking to the future, a 52 percent majority thinks the effects of global terrorism will pose a more serious threat to the world than the effects of climate change and global warming (28 percent).
There are striking differences among partisan groups on this question. Seven of 10 Republicans think global terrorism will pose the more serious threat while only 14 percent think it will be global warming. Among Democrats the responses are almost evenly divided: 38 percent think global terrorism poses a more serious threat and 41 percent global warming.
Recycling and Energy-Saving Products
There is widespread belief that all that sorting of cans and bottles is worthwhile: 69 percent of Americans believe recycling items such as newspapers and aluminum cans helps the environment — more than double the number that believes recycling does more to make people feel good than it does to save the planet (24 percent).
People under age 30 are some of the most skeptical about recycling, as 40 percent of this group believes it’s only a feel-good activity, in contrast to the 17 percent of those aged 55 and older that feel that way.
Those groups most likely to believe in recycling include Democrats (77 percent), non-whites (77 percent) and people age 65 and over (76 percent).
Republicans (31 percent) and independents (26 percent) are much more likely than Democrats (17 percent) to say recycling does more to make people feel good than to help the environment.
In addition, Americans are twice as likely as not to think the benefits to the environment and in lower electricity bills are worth the significantly higher cost for compact fluorescent light bulbs (59 percent to 29 percent).
Majorities of almost all groups, including majorities of Democrats (64 percent) and Republicans (55 percent), agree the energy-efficient light bulbs justify the price tag.
"It is interesting that while Americans often disagree on environmental policies, most people, regardless of their political beliefs, feel it is worthwhile to take actions in their own lives to help protect the environment," said Shiman.