Even Republicans Don't Believe It Comes Down to Jobs vs Environment
The public doesn't believe that there is a zero-sum game in regards to protecting the environment vs growing the economy and that includes 76% of the Republicans.
AL: Your second poll on policy also suggests that 76 percent of Republicans believe that there is no impact of environmental protection on economic growth, or that there is a positive impact. Don’t you find this surprising?
TL: That’s one of the things I found most interesting as well. This comes out of a longtime frustration that I have had, that one of the most commonly used measures of public support for the environment, which goes back decades, is the simple question, “Do you support environmental protection if it hurts the economy or economic growth if it hurts the environment?”
Again, it’s a forced, false choice. It’s an either-or, zero-sum game. I’ve never really liked that question because it forces people into a situation that does not reflect what they believe. So what I did was that I rewrote the question.
I asked, “Do you believe that protecting the environment hurts the economy and costs jobs, has no effect, or actually improves the economy and increases jobs?” About 82 percent of Americans believe that protecting the environment improves the economy or has no effect. 56 percent of Americans believes that protection improves the economy while 26 percent believe that it has no effect. Even 76 percent of Republicans, 74 percent of independents, and 94 percent of Democrats don’t buy into this zero-sum notion that it’s either the environment or the economy.
Seems like we should be able to use that fact to influence our politics.