- The Washington Times - Friday, April 22, 2016

Fewer Americans than ever identify as environmentalists as green issues become more politically polarizing, according to a poll released Friday.

The annual Gallup environment poll, released each year on Earth Day, found that 42 percent of those surveyed call themselves environmentalists, down from a peak of 78 percent in 1991.

“One reason for the decline is that the environment has become politicized as an issue, especially in terms of the debate over climate change and how to address it,” said the Gallup analysis by Jeffrey M. Jones.

Only 27 percent of Republicans consider themselves environmentalists, but the issue has also lost resonance for Democrats, with 56 percent saying they belong to the environmentalist camp. Independents fell in the middle with 39 percent identifying as such.

Climate change was seen as the least significant of five environmental issues, with only 37 percent saying they worry “a great deal” about it. That figure was up from 34 percent from 1989-90.

Even as President Obama moves to make climate change a top priority, those surveyed said they were more concerned about the other four green issues listed on the poll: pollution of rivers, pollution of drinking water, air pollution and the loss of tropical rain forests.

“[O]n a relative basis, global warming is still of less concern than most of the other problems,” said the analysis.

The poll was based on telephone interviews conducted March 2-6, using a random sample of 1,019 adults 18 and older living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, according to Gallup.

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