Environment May Play Key Role in Presidential Election

While it’s true that the environment ranks low on the general public’s list of concerns (eighth, according to a recent Gallup poll), in a presidential election widely expected to be a squeaker, every lever that can move a few votes is getting pulled. John Kerry is honing his environmental strategy: Instead of talking about big, abstract issues like global warming and endangered species (close to the heart of previous Dem candidate Al Gore), he will focus on “kitchen table” issues that directly affect voters, like mercury in their food and asthma caused by air pollution. Meanwhile, a coalition of national enviro groups called the Environmental Victory Project is targeting advertising and door-to-door efforts on four swing states — Florida, New Mexico, Oregon, and Wisconsin. On the GOP side, Republican pollster Ed Goeas believes that President Bush has environmental achievements he can stand on: “I think now Bush has enough he’s done to go back out there and talk about the environment.”