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HPU Poll: North Carolinians Concerned Environment is Getting Worse, Supportive of Clean Energy

04.1.2013
In: News

HIGH POINT, N.C., April 1, 2013 – 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.”

Environmental Questions

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

(adult population surveyed March 17–21, 2013, n = 548 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.2 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

(adult population surveyed March 17–21, 2013, n = 548 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.2 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 OR 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

(adult population surveyed March 17–21, 2013, n = 548 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.2 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 OR emphasize the development of alternative energy such as wind and solar power?

Emphasize the development of alternative energy – 60
Emphasize production of more oil, gas and coal – 28
Both the same – 10
Neither – Less than 1 percent
Don’t know/refused – 2

(adult population surveyed March 17–21, 2013, n = 548 and margin of sampling error approximately = +/- 4.2 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. The Survey Research Center contracted with Survey Sampling International to acquire this sample. The survey has an estimated margin of sampling error of approximately 4.2 percentage points for this sample of the adult population of North Carolina. The data are weighted when appropriate toward population estimates for cellular and landline telephone use, age, gender and race. In addition to sampling error, factors such as question wording and other methodological choices in conducting survey research can introduce additional error into the findings of opinion polls.

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.

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