No respite for weary environmental advocates

A real shift in public opinion or wishful thinking?

In recent elections, North Carolina voters have teetered between red and blue. But the only green in the mix was the color of money, not environmental concern - or even basic awareness.

This state has the gift of a magnificent natural environment, but most voters take it for granted, seldom worrying about issues like water or air quality. That may be changing. Environmental issues have become serious political issues, especially in the past year.

The operative word there is "may" be changing, but I believe even that is a reach. Yes, there have been some high-profile environmental problems that surfaced (or leaked just below the surface) in the past year and a half, but it doesn't automatically follow that a larger chunk of the public has become concerned. I've watched these numbers since 2007, and the percentage of people who list the environment as their top issue has remained around 3 percent, just like in this Gallup poll covering 2015. Yes, that's a national poll and not targeted on NC voters, but it is hard numbers vs speculation of what should happen:


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