Voting Preferences and the Environment in the American Electorate

Deborah Lynn Guber
2001 Society & Natural Resources  
Despite evidence of a growing environmental consensus in the United States, students of electoral politics have long debated the political signi cance of environmentalism by noting the near absence of this issue from national political campaigns. Unfortunately, with only limited survey data available in the past, the few studies to address environmental voting did more to report a de ciency than to explain why it should be the case. In this study I use 1996 National Election Study (NES) data to
more » ... Study (NES) data to examine the impact of environmental concern on attitudes toward American political parties and their candidates. Data results on issue positions and proximities con rm that while environmental issues represent a strength of the Democratic ticket, those issues seldom shape individual vote preferences for three reasons: (1) low issue salience; (2) small perceived differences between candidates on matters of environmental policy; and (3) the tendency of environmental concern to cut across traditional (and more powerful) cleavages, including partisan identi cation.
doi:10.1080/08941920119043 fatcat:66x6qfbpubgcxkgskaigjgd2se