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THE HARRIS POLL
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Nearly Half of Americans Cite
'Too Little' Environment Regulation

THE WALL STREET JOURNAL ONLINE
October 13, 2005

Nearly three-quarters of U.S. adults agree that protecting the environment is important and standards cannot be too high, according to a Harris Interactive poll.

At the same time, nearly half of Americans surveyed say there is too little government regulation and involvement in the area of environmental protection, compared with about 19% who feel there is too much regulation and 32% who say it's just right.

The telephone poll of 1,217 adults indicates concern about too little environmental protection has risen slightly from 39% in 2000, when this poll was last conducted. But the percentage is far below the 63% who said there was too little regulation back in 1991.

Americans view large corporations as one of the biggest culprits in environmental problems: 71% said they are doing less than their share to help reduce environmental problems. But 63% say the general public isn't doing its share.

Only 12% of U.S. adults describe themselves as active environmentalists. While more than half of U.S. adults say they are sympathetic to environmental concerns, nearly a quarter say they are neutral and 4% say they are unsympathetic.

Water pollution is the top concern among poll respondents, followed by air pollution. Other priorities included global warming, ozone depletion, and depletion of forest lands.

See full results of the poll:

* * *

"Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental improvements must be made regardless of cost."

Base: All Adults

Party ID Political Philosophy
All Adults (n=1,217) Republican (n=252) Democrat (n=323) Independent (n=210) Conservative (n=315) Moderate (n=350) Liberal (n=177)
Agree (NET) 74% 60% 85% 75% 69% 77% 82%
  Strongly Agree 40 23 56 43 33 45 52
  Somewhat Agree 34 37 29 31 37 31 30
Disagree (NET) 24 39 15 23 30 22 17
  Somewhat Disagree 16 24 12 13 20 15 12
  Strongly Disagree 9 15 3 10 10 7 5
Not sure 1 1 - 3 1 1 2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

* * *

"Do you agree or disagree with this statement: Protecting the environment is so important that requirements and standards cannot be too high, and continuing environmental Improvements must be made regardless of cost. And do you strongly or somewhat agree or disagree?"

Base: All Adults

Strongly or Somewhat agree
2005 74%
2000 66
1999 64
1998 63
1997 76
1996 73
1995 72
1994 71
1993 58
1992 80
1991 69
1990 75
1989 80
1986 66
1983 58
1981 45

* * *

"Do you think there is too much, too little, or about the right amount of government regulation and involvement in the area of environmental protection?"

Base: All Adults

Party ID Political Philosophy
All Adults (n=1,217) Republican (n=252) Democrat (n=323) Independent (n=210) Conservative (n=315) Moderate (n=350) Liberal (n=177)
Too much 19% 29% 15% 17% 30% 14% 12%
Too little 47 23 61 55 27 56 67
About the right amount 32 45 23 23 40 27 19
Not sure 2 4 1 5 2 3 2

* * *

"Do you think there is too much, too little, or about the right amount of government regulation and involvement in the area of environmental protection?"

Base: All Adults

Too Much Too Little About the
Right Amount
Not Sure
2005 19% 47% 32% 2%
2000 22 39 33 5
1999 29 42 28 1
1998 29 41 29 2
1997 21 49 28 1
1996 24 41 30 5
1993 20 52 24 3
1991 11 63 23 3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

* * *

"How high of a priority do you feel each of the following problems is, using a scale of 1 to 10, where '1' means the problem is a low priority and '10' means the problem is a high priority."

Base: All Adults

  Rating of 9 or 10
Water pollution 52%
Air Pollution 48
Global warming 41
Ozone depletion 41
Depletion of forest lands 41
Recycling more material 39
Insisting that other nations adhere to our level of environmental standards 26

* * *

"For each of the following, please tell me if you feel they've done more than their share, just about right, or less then their share to help reduce environmental problems."

Base: All Adults

Less Than Their Share About Right More Than Their Share Not Sure
Environmental groups 16% 39% 42% 2%
The media 44 37 18 1
State or local government 46 43 10 2
General public 63 26 10 1
Local businesses 50 38 9 3
The President 53 36 8 3
The Congress 57 31 8 3
Large corporations 71 21 6 1

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.

* * *

"Do you think of yourself as an active environmentalist, sympathetic to environmental concerns, neutral, or unsympathetic to environmental concerns?"

Base: All Adults

Environmentalist Sympathetic Neutral Unsympathetic Not Sure
2005 12 58 24 4 1
1999 10 56 30 4 1
1998 12 57 27 3 *
1997 11 57 27 4 --
1996 9 61 24 4 1
1995 11 53 29 5 2

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding.
* Less than 0.5%

Methodology:
Harris Interactive conducted this online survey in the U.S., Aug. 9-16, 2005, among a nationwide cross section of 1,217 adults. Figures for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, income and region were weighted where necessary to align with population proportions. Propensity score weighting was also used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online. In theory, with probability samples of this size, one can say with 95% certainty that the overall results have a sampling error of =/- 3 percentage points of what they would be if the entire U.S. adult population had been polled with complete accuracy.


About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is a world-wide market research and consulting firm, best known for The Harris Poll and its use of the Internet to conduct scientifically accurate market research. For more information, see www.harrisinteractive.com. To become a participant in The Harris Poll Online and join future online surveys, see www.harrispollonline.com.

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