North Carolinians fear environment is worse, support clean energy
Results of the most recent HPU Poll show that North Carolinians are pessimistic about the quality of the environment, but most are supportive of protecting the environment and emphasizing the development of alternative energy such as wind and solar power.
Majorities of North Carolina residents polled said that the overall quality of the environment is only fair or poor (58 percent), and that the quality of the environment in the country as a whole is getting worse (51 percent).
A majority (52 percent) of respondents also said that protection of the environment ought to be given priority even if there is a risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies – such as oil, gas and coal – produced here in the United States. A majority of respondents (60 percent) also said there should be a priority placed on developing alternative energy sources to solve the nation’s energy problems.
“Our results show that North Carolina residents are deeply concerned about the state of the environment and are looking for reasonable solutions,” says Dr. Sadie Leder, associate director of the HPU Poll. “When given the choice, most respondents favor making investments in renewable energy sources as compared to focusing on fossil fuels.”
How would you rate the overall quality of the environment in this country today— as excellent, good, fair, or poor?
Excellent – 4 percent.
Good – 37 percent.
Fair – 43 percent.
Poor – 15 percent.
Don’t know/refused – 2 percent.
Right now, do you think the quality of the environment in the country as a whole is getting better or worse?
Getting better – 30 percent.
Getting worse – 51 percent.
Neither better nor worse – 16 percent.
Don’t know/refuse – 4 percent.
With which one of these statements about the environment and energy production do you most agree?
• Protection of the environment should be given priority, even at the risk of limiting the amount of energy supplies such as oil, gas and coal which the United States produces. • Development of U.S. energy supplies such as oil, gas and coal should be given priority, even if the environment suffers to some extent.
Protection of the environment – 52 percent.
Development of U.S. energy supplies – 33 percent.
Both the same – 7 percent.
Neither – 5 percent.
Don’t know/ refuse – 4 percent.
Which of the following approaches to solving the nation’s energy problems do you think the U.S. should follow right now:
• Emphasize production of more oil, gas and coal supplies.
• Emphasize the development of alternative energy such as wind and solar power.
Emphasize the development of alternative energy – 60 percent.
Emphasize production of more oil, gas and coal – 28 percent.
Both the same – 10 percent.
Neither – Less than 1 percent.
Don’t know/refused – 2 percent.
The most recent survey was fielded by live interviewers at the High Point University Survey Research Center calling on March 17–21, 2013. The responses from a sample of all North Carolina counties came from 548 adults with landline or cellular telephones. Further results and methodological details from the most recent survey and past studies can be found at the Survey Research Center website at http://src.highpoint.edu/
Dr. Martin Kifer, assistant professor of political science, serves as the director of the HPU Poll, and Dr. Sadie Leder, assistant professor of psychology, serves as the associate director of the HPU Poll.