Research Findings: Green Issues Matter, But Won’t Decide Presidential Election

Last week Invoke Solutions engaged participants in a discussion of green issues and their role in the upcoming election. The group was split politically between Democrats (43%), Republicans (34%) and Independents (23%).

Across the board people agreed that environmental issues were important but that they would not be the driving force in who they vote for. In fact only 34% would definitely not vote for a candidate that they disagreed with on environmental issues. In the words of one participant, “There are other issues that I find more important, but environmental issues could get my vote if two candidates were the same on everything else.”

Participants named the three most important issues to them in the upcoming election with the economy being by far the most important (50% ranked it first). The full rankings were 1) Economy; 2) Healthcare; 3) Foreign policy; 4) Immigration; 5) Homeland security; 6) Taxes; 7) Education; 8) Social Security; 9) Climate change; 10) Energy policy; 11) Cultural issues such as abortion and same-sex marriage; 12) Housing; and 13) Stem cell research.

When asked how important “green” issues were in making a voting decision in general, one participant summed it up by saying, "Green issues have no effect on how I'm going to vote. There are too many other more important issues right now that will affect my vote - economy, war, etc.” Many more agreed, including one who said “I feel they are important, but I feel they are going to take a back seat to other issues that people feel are more important. Issues like the economy, health care, and immigration.”

Participants also were asked which candidate would have the largest positive impact on environmental issues. The democrats had a large edge with the top three being:
1) Hillary Rodham Clinton (31%)
2) Barack Obama (28%)
3) John McCain (12%)


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