Politics and Public Opinion

What you may have missed in the polls: Environmental politics, immigration, and frozen assets

Environmental politics: As expected, Barack Obama got endorsements this week from some of the big environmental organizations. Will they matter in November? Our annual compilation of data on American attitudes toward the environment shows that Democrats continue to have a strong advantage over Republicans as the party better able to handle the environment. Barack Obama also gets good marks on handling the issue.

What isn’t clear is how much the environment will matter in November. A March Gallup poll included in the April issue of AEI’s Political Report found that 37 percent personally worried a great deal about the quality of the environment, 48 percent about the availability and affordability of energy, 65 percent about gas prices, and 71 percent about the economy. On handling energy and gas prices, the president’s ratings are much lower.

Consolidating the base: Pew says this in its new poll, “To the extent Romney has a base problem, it is not with the conservatives or white evangelical Protestants.” Ninety percent of conservative Republicans support him and 82 percent are certain of their vote. Ninety-one percent of white evangelical voters support him and 84 percent are committed. The responses for Tea Party Republicans are similar: 95 percent support Romney, and 89 percent are sure they will vote for him. Moderate and liberal Republicans and those who don’t support the Tea Party are more tepid in their support at this time. In a new ABC/Washington Post poll, about 80 percent of conservative Republicans now hold favorable views of Romney

Immigration: In an earlier blog post, we noted that immigration was not a top priority for voters in Republican primaries. A new Pew Research Center survey shows that concern about the issue is down nationally, too. Fifty-four percent of registered voters in May 2008 said the issue would be very important in making their voting decision. In Pew’s new April poll, 42 percent gave that response.

Freezing your assets: More than one in four Americans (27 percent) told Marist pollsters that they hide money in the freezer. Interestingly enough, the numbers reporting they freeze their assets were nearly identical for those who make less and more than $50,000. Nineteen percent “sock” their extra cash, 11 percent hide it underneath the mattress, and 10 percent hide their dough in the cookie jar.

Trial heats: With pollsters now turning to the general election campaign, does Romney or Obama have the advantage? This week, that depends on who you ask. CBS News and the New York Times have the race even, Gallup has Romney up 4 points, CNN and the Opinion Research Corporation have Obama up 9 points, Reuters/Ipsos has Obama up 4, and Quinnipiac has Obama up 2.

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