Gallup: Senate may be #Up4Climate, but ...

Senate Democrats held an overnight session on Monday to highlight the need for action on global warming, while simultaneously offering no action items whatsoever. This impressed almost no one, including Dana Milbank, who called the effort “hot air.” Heck, that at least deserves a mention here:

But burning the midnight oil in this manner is peculiar. Usually, when a lawmaker talks all night, he’s trying to stop the majority from passing something. But these guys are trying to persuade the majority — themselves — to pass something.

Joining the late-night guerilla action was Harry Reid (D-Nev.), who as the Senate majority leader is usually a target of filibusters, not a sponsor. If he and his colleagues really want action, they don’t have to lose sleep. All they have to do is bring a climate-change bill to the floor. …

[T]hey figured their antics in the wee hours would display their dedication for all Americans to see — or at least insomniacs who watch C-SPAN2. It also might impress Democratic donors. As The Post’s Ed O’Keefe reported, Democratic senators discussed plans for the filibuster last month at a fundraiser held by liberal billionaire Thomas Steyer.

Basically, it was a fund-raising event, aimed at one particular donor. And that’s probably just as well, because as Gallup has repeatedly found, global warming sits at the bottom of voter priorities, even when voters are given the opportunity to choose more than one priority for Congress to address. Today’s poll demonstrates just how out-of-touch #Up4Climate was:

Twenty-eight U.S. senators held an all-night “talkathon” Monday to call attention to climate change, an issue that only 24% of Americans say they worry about a great deal. This puts climate change, along with the quality of the environment, near the bottom of a list of 15 issues Americans rated in Gallup’s March 6-9 survey. The economy, federal spending, and healthcare dominate Americans’ worries.

This was the first year Gallup included “climate change” in the list of worries tested in the annual March Environment survey. Americans are less worried only about race relations than they are about climate change. The majority of Americans say they worry about these two issues “only a little” or “not at all”; more than half of Americans worry about the other 13 issues at least “a fair amount.”

But environmental issues have momentum now, right? Right? Er …

Thirty-one percent of Americans indicate that they worry “a great deal” about the quality of the environment this year, marking the lowest level of worry about the environment more broadly since Gallup began measuring this in 2001. Americans were most concerned about the environment in 2007, when 43% worried a great deal.

Gallup charts the trend on the broader environmental question:


Note that the pattern roughly fits with the perception of economic growth and opportunity. It’s not an exact correlation, but the 40+ levels only came when the economy was robust (and especially when it was perceived as such). Otherwise, the level of “great” worry over environmental issues is in a narrow minority.

The real priorities of Americans at the moment are the economy (59%), federal spending and deficits (58%), and health care (57%) — an issue that cuts against Democrats this year. Unemployment comes in a surprising fourth, at 47%, but it’s still nearly twice as high as climate change (24%).

When Gallup breaks priorities down by party affiliation, the #Up4Climate stunt looks even more ridiculous. Even among Democrats, climate change only gets 36% mention in a non-exclusive list of concerns — ranking far below the economy (54%), health care (57%), hunger and homelessness (53%), and unemployment (52%). Only illegal immigration (26%), the size and power of the federal government (29%), and race relations (23%) ranked below climate change among Democrats, although potential for terrorist attacks was in a virtual tie with climate change at 35%.

Senate Democrats only managed to highlight their own impotence with their overnight stunt, and their own out-of-touch status with the electorate. Small wonder only 28 of their caucus chose to self-identify as clueless on Monday night.