Concern Varies on Environmental Issues in the U.S., Great Britain, France, Italy, Spain, and Germany Since the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill

NEW YORK, Aug. 12 /PRNewswire/ -- A new Financial Times/Harris Poll finds that the recent oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico has caused adults in the five largest European countries and the United States to be more concerned about certain environmental issues as well as oil dependency. Two-thirds of Americans (66%), just over three in five Spaniards (63%), three in five Italians (59%) and Germans (58%) and just under half of French (48%) and British (45%) adults who are aware of the oil spill say they are more concerned with the issue of oil dependency. Only between 2% and 10% of those aware of the spill in these countries are less concerned about this issue, with the rest saying they are no more or less concerned since the oil spill.

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These are some of the findings of a Financial Times/Harris Poll conducted online by Harris Interactive® among 6,180 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,065), Germany (1,002), Great Britain (1,107), Spain (1,005), U.S. (1,001) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,000) between July 20 and 29, 2010.  

Looking at some environmental issues:

  • Strong majorities of those aware of the oil spill in Germany (79%), Spain (75%), Italy (74%), the U.S. (72%) and France (63%) are more concerned about water pollution since the spill while just under half of Britons (48%) say the same. Just under half of British adults aware of the spill say they are no more or less concerned;
  • Over three in five Germans (76%), Spaniards (72%), Italians (71%), Americans (69%) and French who are aware of the oil spill (62%) are more concerned about wildlife and environmental conservation since the spill in the Gulf;
  • Air pollution is not causing as much concern. While three in five Spaniards (63%) and Italians (61%), as well as half (49%) of French adults are more concerned, while half of Americans (50%) and Germans (49%) and almost two-thirds of British adults aware of the oil spill (64%) are no more or less concerned about air pollution since the spill occurred;
  • Like air pollution, climate change is not causing more concern because of the oil spill. Three in five Spaniards (61%) and half of Italians who are aware of the oil spill (51%) are more concerned, while half of Americans (52%) and French (51%) are no more or less concerned. Two-thirds of British adults aware of the spill (66%) are no more or less concerned while Germans are divided with 46% being more concerned and the same being no more or less concerned; and,
  • There is more concern over the issue of oil exploration since the spill. Three in five Americans (62%), Italians (62%), Germans (60%) and Spaniards (60%) as well as just under half of French adults aware of the oil spill (46%) are more concerned about this issue since the spill. British adults are again slightly different. While two in five who are aware of the spill (40%) are more concerned, over half (52%) are no more or less concerned.

The role of government

One thing there is agreement on in these six countries is that oil companies should be more regulated. Over seven in ten French (91%), Italians (90%), Spaniards (90%), Germans (82%), Americans (77%) and Britons (73%) who are aware of the oil spill agree oil companies should be more regulated.  Where there is less consensus is the actual role the governments should play with regard to these types of problems. Just under half of Spaniards (49%) and Italians (46%) as well as two in five Americans (43%) and Britons (43%) agree that governments should clean up and repair environmental damages caused by private businesses. However, half of French adults (51%) and over two in five Germans (44%) disagree with this idea.

So What?

There is a sense of patriotism among Britons on these matters, as Britons are consistently less likely to be more concerned about the various environmental issues since the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.  But one question remains regarding those more concerned in the other countries: Will this sense of concern be something that continues after the camera crews leave the Gulf or will it dissipate as news teams move on to the next crisis?

TABLE 1

CONCERN ABOUT OIL DEPENDENCY

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Oil dependency

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

66

45

48

59

63

58

Much more concerned

35

18

25

36

38

33

Somewhat more concerned

31

27

24

23

25

26

No more or less concerned

28

48

44

28

30

34

Less concerned (NET)

3

2

4

10

5

3

Somewhat less concerned

1

1

2

3

2

1

Much less concerned

1

2

2

6

2

2

Not sure

3

5

3

3

2

5

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 2

CONCERN ABOUT WATER POLLUTION

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Water Pollution

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

72

48

63

74

75

79

Much more concerned

44

22

37

58

52

60

Somewhat more concerned

28

26

26

15

23

19

No more or less concerned

24

45

33

16

22

16

Less concerned (NET)

3

2

2

8

3

2

Somewhat less concerned

1

1

1

1

1

*

Much less concerned

2

1

1

7

2

2

Not sure

2

5

2

2

1

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 3

CONCERN ABOUT AIR POLLUTION

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Air Pollution

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

44

28

49

61

63

45

Much more concerned

22

13

25

40

39

22

Somewhat more concerned

22

15

24

20

23

23

No more or less concerned

50

64

46

29

33

49

Less concerned (NET)

4

3

2

8

3

3

Somewhat less concerned

2

2

1

3

1

2

Much less concerned

2

1

1

5

2

2

Not sure

3

5

2

2

1

4

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding




TABLE 4

CONCERN ABOUT WILDLIFE AND ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Wildlife and environmental conservation

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

69

48

62

71

72

76

Much more concerned

40

23

35

54

49

55

Somewhat more concerned

29

25

27

18

24

21

No more or less concerned

25

45

34

20

24

19

Less concerned (NET)

3

2

2

7

3

2

Somewhat less concerned

1

1

1

1

1

1

     Much less concerned

1

1

2

6

2

1

Not sure

3

5

2

2

1

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding






TABLE 5

CONCERN ABOUT CLIMATE CHANGE

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Climate Change

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

39

25

43

51

61

46

Much more concerned

19

12

23

32

38

24

Somewhat more concerned

20

13

20

19

23

22

No more or less concerned

52

66

51

37

35

46

Less concerned (NET)

5

4

3

10

3

4

Somewhat less concerned

2

2

2

3

1

1

     Much less concerned

4

2

1

6

2

3

Not sure

3

5

3

3

1

4

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 6

CONCERN ABOUT OIL EXPLORATION

"Since the Gulf of Mexico spill, have you become more or less concerned about the following issues?"

Oil exploration

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

More concerned (NET)

62

40

46

62

60

60

Much more concerned

33

16

21

38

32

30

Somewhat more concerned

29

24

25

24

28

30

No more or less concerned

30

52

44

25

31

33

Less concerned (NET)

4

3

7

10

5

4

Somewhat less concerned

2

2

3

3

2

2

     Much less concerned

2

2

4

7

3

2

Not sure

3

5

3

3

3

4

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 7

MORE REGULATION OF OIL COMPANIES

"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

Oil companies should be more regulated

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

77

73

91

90

90

82

Strongly agree

51

34

67

72

75

50

Somewhat agree

26

39

24

18

15

32

Neither agree nor disagree

10

21

6

7

7

13

Disagree (NET)

13

6

3

3

3

5

Somewhat disagree

7

4

2

1

1

3

     Strongly disagree

6

2

1

2

2

3

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



TABLE 8

GOVERNMENT TO HELP REPAIR DAMAGES CAUSED BY PRIVATE SECTOR

"How much do you agree or disagree with the following statements?"

Governments should clean up and repair environmental damages caused by private businesses

Base: All EU adults in five countries and U.S. adults aware of the oil spill




U.S.

Great

Britain

France

Italy

Spain

Germany

%

%

%

%

%

%

Agree (NET)

43

43

34

46

49

38

Strongly agree

17

13

17

25

24

13

Somewhat agree

26

30

17

21

26

25

Neither agree nor disagree

15

21

15

19

15

18

Disagree (NET)

41

36

51

35

36

44

Somewhat disagree

19

22

21

17

13

23

     Strongly disagree

23

15

30

18

23

21

Note: Percentages may not add up to 100% due to rounding



Methodology

This FT/Harris Poll was conducted online by Harris Interactive among a total of 6,180 adults aged 16-64 within France (1,065), Germany (1,002), Great Britain (1,107), Spain (1,005), U.S. (1,001) and adults aged 18-64 in Italy (1,000) between July 20 and 29, 2010.  Figures for age, sex, education, region and Internet usage were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population. Propensity score weighting was used to adjust for respondents' propensity to be online.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words "margin of error" as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult populations of the respective countries. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.

The results of this Harris Poll may not be used in advertising, marketing or promotion without the prior written permission of Harris Interactive.

These statements conform to the principles of disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls and the British Polling Council.

The Harris Poll® #97, August 12, 2010

By Regina A. Corso, Director, The Harris Poll, Harris Interactive

About Harris Interactive

Harris Interactive is one of the world's leading custom market research firms, leveraging research, technology, and business acumen to transform relevant insight into actionable foresight. Known widely for the Harris Poll and for pioneering innovative research methodologies, Harris offers expertise in a wide range of industries including healthcare, technology, public affairs, energy, telecommunications, financial services, insurance, media, retail, restaurant, and consumer package goods. Serving clients in over 215 countries and territories through our North American, European, and Asian offices and a network of independent market research firms, Harris specializes in delivering research solutions that help us – and our clients – stay ahead of what's next. For more information, please visit www.harrisinteractive.com.

Press Contact:

Corporate Communications

Harris Interactive

212-539-9600

press@harrisinteractive.net



SOURCE Harris Interactive



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