A survey released two days before the 51st annual recognition of Earth Day shows a majority of New Yorkers are somewhat or very concerned about climate change and environmental conservation. The Siena College Research Institute poll also finds sixty percent of those responding believe pro-environment policies will ultimately be good for the economy.
Fifty-six percent of those who answered the Siena poll expressed being "very concerned" about climate change. The level of high concern rises among individual issues including water pollution, air pollution and deforestation. In those cases, more than 60 percent of respondents said they are "very concerned."
Among different age groups, the levels of concern were generally consistent. A majority of New Yorkers also answered questions about recycling by stating they do so regularly. Siena College Research Institute director Dr. Dan Levy says what surprised him was a trend indicating more active recycling among older respondents.
“Seventy percent of all New Yorkers say they do that very often,” he said. “Interestingly, there's a place where we see older New Yorkers, those above the age of 50 years of age and older, at the rate of over 80% say they very often recycle. With younger New Yorkers, those under the age of 50, close to 60% say they do that very often.”
Numbers of those "very concerned" were generally higher among women, compared to men. The sharper contrast came among political party lines. Dr. Levy says the survey shows a much higher level of support by Democrats for environmental policies including phasing in electric cars and moving toward zero emissions by the year 2040. Republicans, according to the poll, tended to believe the state is doing what it can in terms of environmental protection and that pursuing more pro-environment policies could be too expensive and ultimately hurt the economy.
But that doesn't mean they don't care about the overall environment, the numbers suggest. Dr. Levy noted that while only 29 percent of Republicans expressed being "very concerned" about climate change, 56 percent of responding Republicans told Siena researchers they are at least "somewhat concerned" about it.
Click here for more information on the Siena College Research Institute Earth Day poll.
Click here for the Earth Day Poll cross tabs.