Sorry, Al Gore, but Public Cares About the Economy, Not Global Warming

He has tried everything possible to raise awareness of the potential threat posed by global warming.

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By Paul Bedard, Washington Whispers

He admits that it's counterintuitive, but Gallup Poll Editor Frank Newport says he sees no evidence that Al Gore's campaign against global warming is winning. "It's just not caught on," says Newport. "They have failed." Or, more bluntly: "Any measure that we look at shows Al Gore's losing at the moment. The public is just not that concerned." What the public is worried about: the economy. Newport says the economy trumps the environment right now, a strong indicator that President Obama's bid to put a cap-and-trade pollution regime into operation isn't likely to be politically popular.

That's not to say people aren't passionate about the issue. But it's the direction of their passion that will disappoint Gore. Newport says that some 41 percent believe global warming claims are exaggerated, and "that's the highest we've seen." Ask people to name their biggest concerns, and just 1 percent to 2 percent cite the environment. "The environment doesn't show up at all," says Newport.

"It's Al Gore's greatest frustration," says Newport. "We seem less concerned than more about global warming over the years. . . . Despite the movies and publicity and all that, we're just not seeing it take off with the American public. And that was occurring even before the latest economic recession."

He adds: "As Al Gore I think would say, the greatest challenge facing humanity . . . has failed to show up in our data."

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