Bush haters will find much to celebrate in the latest NYT/CBS poll (write-up here; full results in PDF form here). Bush’s approval ranking is tanking, overall — 31%, the third lowest of any president in 50 years, behind Nixon and Carter — and on virtually every individual issue, including the war in Iraq and terrorism.
Enviros, however, have reason for glumness. Question three is: "What do you think is the most important problem facing this country today?" 14% chose the cryptic "heating oil/gas crisis." The equally vague "environment" garnered an underwhelming 1%. And global warming? Wasn’t even on the list. The big winner was "war," with 19%.
Even more glumly, a majority approves of plans to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, by 48-45%.
On the subject of global warming, how much do I hate this question?
Global warming is a term used to describe changes in the temperature of the earth’s atmosphere, which could result in changes in the environment. How much have you heard or read about global warming — a lot, some, not much or nothing at all?
It "could result in changes to the environment"? Argh. The environment, out there, could change. How about, "could radically impair the ability of your children and grandchildren to maintain a reasonably comfortable standard of living?"
Anyway, between 2003 and 2006, the number of people who’ve heard "a lot" rose from 27% to 41%. So I guess that’s good. Among people who’ve heard some or a lot, 66% think it’s having a serious effect now.
Also, relevant to the discussion here, Al Gore is pulling a stinktastic 28% approval rating, 39% disapproval. His approval rating was high in 2000, but plunged in 2002 and 2003 — I suspect because he opposed the Iraq war back when the nation was gripped by a paranoid, nationalistic frenzy. But why it remains low, I couldn’t say. It will be interesting to see what his new climate-chaos campaign will do to the numbers.
(Also of note: 63% think the president can do something about high gas prices; 66% think Congress can do something about it. They’re mostly wrong, of course, but if you want this president and this Congress defeated, it’s handy, since 89% think the Bush admin. doesn’t have a plan to address the problem, 76% think prices are going to rise more, and 58% say it affects them personally. 71% blame oil companies.)