This article is part of a series on the May 2014 Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll.
There’s a whole lot that Americans don’t think they can change. Most Americans don’t think they can do much to reduce taxes and government spending. More than half of Americans don’t think there’s much they can do to keep college affordable. Acting to protect privacy and Social Security benefits is a toss-up.
But there is one issue that a large majority of Americans actually thinks it can influence: protecting the environment.
According to a new Allstate/National Journal Heartland Monitor Poll, 78 percent of Americans think that the average citizen has “some” or a “great deal” of ability to make a difference on the environment through his or her own actions. That’s the highest for any issue polled. You can see the full results here:The number is striking, especially when compared with how helpless most Americans feel when it comes to changing their government.
It’s not like Americans aren’t worried about the state of the environment. It’s not just the actions the White House is currently taking on climate change, or this spring’s ultra-gloomy United Nations report. While Americans are split on whether the country is headed in the right or wrong direction on environmental protection according to the Heartland poll, Americans know that where we are right now isn’t right.
In a recent Gallup Poll, two-thirds of Americans said that they personally worry about the quality of the environment a “great deal” or a “fair amount.” Gallup also found that 48 percent of Americans think the U.S. government is doing too little to protect the environment (compared with 17 percent who think the government is doing too much), and that 56 percent of Americans personally worry a great deal or fair amount about global warming specifically.
Of course, acting to protect the environment could be as simple as recycling a plastic bottle. Small, individual actions aren’t going to reverse climate change on their own. But when it’s so easy to get down on individual efficacy right now, and when it’s especially easy to look at climate change as this unstoppable, unsolvable behemoth, it’s at least a little heartening to see an area where so many Americans think they can actually make a difference.
Who Will Be the Next President? Who Cares
A majority of Americans think an increase in community volunteering would have a bigger impact than electing a president they agree with.
- 1 Only the Margin Seems in Doubt in the Presidential Race
- 2 The Late-Breaking Democratic House Targets
- 3 Great Democratic Hopes Energize Quiet Faithful in Missouri
- 4 Smart Ideas: Ken Bone Revealed a Serious Policy Divide, and Elizabeth Warren Seeks a Co-Presidency
- 5 Will Congress Try to Rein in Obamacare Premiums?
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Twenty-three members of Congress "on Thursday asked the Justice Department to clarify how a looming rule change to the government's hacking powers could impact privacy rights of innocent Americans. The change, due to take place on December 1, would let judges issue search warrants for remote access to computers located in any jurisdiction, potentially including foreign countries. Magistrate judges can normally only order searches within the jurisdiction of their court, which is typically limited to a few counties."
"Hillary Clinton’s campaign announced that her campaign and joint fundraising committees raised $101 million in the first 19 days of October, giving her committees $153 million in cash on hand." Her campaign itself has about $62 million on hand. The campaign said the average donation was $50.
Hillary Clinton appeared on the campaign trail for the first time with Michelle Obama on Thursday night. At the joint appearance in North Carolina, Mrs. Obama said, “When you hear folks talking about a global conspiracy and saying that this election is rigged, understand that they are trying to get you to stay home. They are trying to convince you that your vote doesn’t matter, that the outcome has already been determined and that you shouldn’t even bother to make your voice heard.”
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) said that "there was “precedent” for a Supreme Court with fewer than nine justices—appearing to suggest that the blockade on nominee Merrick Garland could last past the election." Speaking to reporters in Colorado, Cruz said: "I would note, just recently, that Justice Breyer observed that the vacancy is not impacting the ability of the court to do its job. That’s a debate that we are going to have.”