Environmental protection and climate change are quickly becoming a top public policy priority for many people in the U.S., especially those between 18-29 years of age.
A new Pew Research Center poll shows the environment and climate change as competing with traditional top public policy concerns of military and crime among U.S. adults. For the first time, the environment trails only the economy among popular public policy topics, with 64 percent of all respondents saying it should be a top policy priority among the Trump administration and Congress. Climate change came in fourth ahead of a rapidly declining policy priority of jobs.
There were still large differences among age groups in terms of policy preferences. Adults between the ages of 18-29 were driving the environment and climate change as top priorities, with 77 and 61 percent, respectively, choosing that as a top priority. Social security and crime, however, were by far the top priorities of adults 50 years or older. Adults between 50-64 averaged 66 percent between the two topics and adults 65 or older averaged 71 percent.
The poll also showed wide partisan gaps between policy preferences. Policies like drug addiction, social security and crime saw similar numbers among Democrats and Republicans, however immigration, climate change and gun policy showed enormous differences. 78 percent of Democrats compared to 21 percent of Republicans saw climate change as a top priority, while 73 percent of Republicans compared to 40 percent of Democrats saw immigration as a top priority.