Harris Poll: Americans Rank Energy Over Environment, 'Green' Issues Dead Last

By Pete Winn | October 31, 2012 | 5:17 PM EDT

FILE - In this Tuesday, Oct. 9, 2012, file photo, a gasoline pump shows a customer has spent $40.00 for eight gallons of gasoline at a Shell station in the Hollywood district of Los Angeles.  (AP Photo/Reed Saxon, File)

(CNSNews.com) – Energy policy concerns win hands down over "green" concerns in a ranking of election issues that Americans are concerned about, according to new poll results from Harris Interactive.

According to the poll, 77 percent of Americans said energy is “very important” or “important” when it comes to voting for a political candidate.

Only 67 percent said environmental issues predominate.

The online pollster asked 2,562 adults: “How important is a presidential candidate's policy in each of the following areas to making your decision on who to vote for?”

Economic/budget concerns (88 percent), taxes (86 percent), jobs (86 percent) and health care (85 percent) led the list of concerns, with energy policy – including the price of gasoline -- coming in at sixth place.

Environmental concerns ranked at the bottom in 10th place.

The poll does not say that Americans are not concerned about the environment, but merely that the group of those who say the environment is the top issue driving their vote is much smaller than the group concerned about the availability and costs of energy, according to Harris.

The older the segment of population, the more that Americans seem concerned about energy, and the wider the gap between concern about energy and the environment.

Among those age 67 and older, 90 percent are concerned most about energy, 74 percent about the environment.

Results in other segments:

Aged 48-66: 83 percent energy/70 percent

Aged 36 to 47: 74 percent/64 percent

Aged 16 to 35: 66 percent/63 percent

Energy is an important subject for Americans because it is central to many other policies, especially economic, jobs and environmental policies, according to Harris Interactive Vice President Sarah Simmons.

“In addition, energy pricing has a significant impact on families – whether it is in the prices they pay at the pump OR in the impact energy prices have on the ability of large and small businesses to increase the workforce. This unique role that energy plays in our nation's economic health and our way of life will continue to keep the issues on the front burner."

The online survey took place between Sept. 17-24.

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