Percentage of Americans Who Identify as 'Environmentalists' Down 36 Points Since 1991

By Lauretta Brown | April 26, 2016 | 10:37 AM EDT

Earth.  (NASA/AP)

(CNSNews.com) – A Gallup poll released on Friday shows that the number of Americans who identify as environmentalists has dropped 36 points, from 78 percent in 1991 to 42 percent in 2016. There has also been a decline in Americans expressing concern about environmental problems, such as pollution.

The Earth Day poll is conducted annually by Gallup. The polling firm cites the politicization of environmental issues as one possible reason for the decline, highlighting the growing partisan gap in those who identify as environmentalists.

A large percentage of Americans (Republicans and Democrats) – 78 percent – considered themselves environmentalists in 1991. That number today is 42 percent.

 

Also, only 27 percent of Republicans identify as environmentalists, compared with 56 percent of Democrats, a partisan gap of 29 percentage points.

However, Gallup notes the “broader decline in personal environmentalism at the same time that the environment has turned into more of a Democratic than Republican issue,” citing the large decline in Democrats who consider themselves environmentalists -- 56 percent today versus 78 percent 25 years ago.

Gallup also notes a decline in Americans’ concern over environmental problems, such as air pollution and pollution of rivers, lakes and reservoirs. Concern over polluted drinking water is down from 65 percent in 1989-1990 to 61 percent today.

Concern over air pollution is down from 61 percent to just 43 percent today.

While concern over climate change has risen slightly (from 33 percent to 37 percent) since 1990, Gallup notes that, “on a relative basis, global warming is still of less concern than most of the other problems.”

Gallup’s poll results are based on telephone interviews conducted March 2-6, 2016, with a random sample of 1,019 adults, aged 18 and older.