If you’ve looked at the polling data being collected in the swing states ahead of next month’s presidential election, or even if you haven’t, you probably know that the economy ranks highest among likely voters when it comes to the issues informing their choice between the candidates. Also routinely mentioned are unemployment, health care, and the budget deficit. While it’s unsurprising that these dollars and cents issues loom large in a time of widespread economic hardship, what’s noticeably missing from most polls altogether is the environment and energy.
Signs of climate change’s impact have become more apparent since the last time Americans elected a president, but the environment and related energy issues seem to have been downgraded in the mind of the average citizen. At this point in the cycle four years ago, even as the solvency of the nation’s banks was in question, a Quinnipiac poll found that between six and eight percent of voters in the key swing states and between nine and twelve percent of independents in those places named energy policy as the single most important issue upon which their decision would rest.