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April 9, 2018
New Poll Shows Trump, Environment Big Motivators For U.S. Demonstrators
A new poll suggests concern for the environment is a major factor driving an uptick in organized protests since 2016. EcoWatch also cites a 2017 poll by AP-NORC/EPIC that details where Americans stand on climate and energy issues.
By Olivia Rosanevia EcoWatch
From the Women's March on Washington to the March for Science, the first year of the Trump administration saw an increase in highly-publicized mass demonstrations, leading to the sense that the president's policies are mobilizing people with progressive beliefs to defend their views in the streets.
Now, a Washington Post-Kaiser Family Foundation poll reported by The Washington Post on Friday provides the numbers to confirm that narrative.
The poll, the most in-depth look at U.S. protesters in more than a decade, found that 20 percent of Americans have joined a political rally or street demonstration since the start of 2016. For 19 percent of them, that rally was the first they had ever attended.
According to the poll, dissatisfaction with Trump was a major motivator for demonstrators: 70 percent of them disapproved of the job the president is doing compared with 30 percent who approved. Half of demonstrators attended events at least partly because of Trump.
Concerns about the environment were also a key motivating factor for American rally-goers. Thirty-two percent of demonstrators who attended a rally in the past two years did so to express their views on "the environment and energy issues," according to the results. It was the issue that attracted the second-largest percentage of demonstrators, after women's rights at 46 percent.
Polls have also suggested that the majority of Americans' views on climate change do not match the rhetoric of the Trump administration. For example, a 2017 poll by AP-NORC and the Energy Policy Institute at The University of Chicago found that 61 percent of Americans thought climate change was a threat that the federal government should act to mitigate.