Get access

Environmental Policy Attitudes: Issues, Geographical Scale, and Political Trust


  • *Direct correspondence to David Konisky, Harry S Truman School of Public Affairs, 105 Middlebush Hall, University of Missouri, Columbia, MO 65211 〈〉. The authors thank Robert Duffy, Andrew Kear, Tom Koontz, and the anonymous referees for helpful suggestions on earlier drafts of the article, as well as Tyler Schario for excellent research assistance. The University of Missouri Institute of Public Policy provided financial support for the project. Milyo also gratefully acknowledges financial support from the Hanna Family Fellowship at the Center for Applied Economics in the University of Kansas School of Business. All data and coding information are available on request.


Objectives. This article examines environmental policy attitudes, focusing on the differences in preferences across issue type (i.e., pollution, resource preservation) and geographical scale (i.e., local, national, global). In addition, we study whether an individual's trust in government influences environmental policy attitudes.

Methods. Analyzing data from the 2007 Cooperative Congressional Election Study, we estimate a series of OLS regression models to examine the public's environmental policy attitudes.

Results. We find stronger public support for government action to address pollution issues than resources issues, and stronger support for local and national pollution abatement than dealing with global problems. We also find that Republicans and ideological conservatives are less likely to support further government effort to address the environment, and that more trusting individuals are more favorable to government action to address pollution and global issues.

Conclusion. Environmental policy attitudes vary by the nature of the issue; however, political ideology and partisan affiliation are consistent predictors of preferences across issues, even when controlling for an individual's level of trust in government.