Thursday, December 07, 2006

Can Environmental Issues Drive The Canadian Vote?

Conservatives tend to think of the Environment as a "second tier" issue, but there is some encouraging news out of the U.S., where Global Warming played a crucial roll in the outcome of November's mid-term elections. From the pollsters at Zogby International:

Half of Americans who voted in the mid-term elections said concern about global warming made a difference in who they voted for on Election Day 2006, according to a recent Zogby International post-election survey. Eighty-five percent of these voters who felt global warming was important cast their votes for Democratic Congressional candidates, including 48 percent of Independents and 7 percent of Republicans.


“Global warming was overshadowed in this election by the dominant issue of Iraq,” said John Zogby. “But exit polling shows that global warming was a sleeper issue that may have snuck up on politicians in close races. Global warming was most influential among Latinos and youth – two constituencies that helped propel Democratic gains. There are also signs that global warming may be eroding support for Republicans among religious voters. Looking ahead, politicians in both parties ignore this issue at their peril.”

I've written several times on the topic of Green Evangelism and how it is splitting the U.S. Conservative movement. Something similar may be happening in the Canadian context as well, for it was environmental concerns that drove the relatively SoCon David Orchard into Stephane Dion's camp.

I applaud Dion for embracing this issue, hope he runs hard on it during the next election, and pray he follows up on the promises he makes.


Peter Loewen said...

self reports of what was important to individuals are far from ideal explantors of actual electoral behaviour.

bigcitylib said...

Perhaps, but this is no more the case for environmental issues than anything else. If 48% had said "Iraq" or "lower taxes", would you not say that for many people their vote was cast primarily on these issues?

Peter Loewen said...

yes, in principle I agree that it's something of a measure. But people can always find more reasons for the vote than 1, which is precisely the number of votes which they cast. So, it has to be a combination of things, rather than just one.

Unknown said...

Hi, You are right Canada becoming one most affected enviromental issue country in world & environmental issues are becoming one of the big problem for Canadian peoples. Some Social workers & Few companies now offering environmental issues Canada. They always wants Green Environmental for Canada cities.