Gallup: Climate Change Ranks Low on Americans' Worry List

By Susan Jones | March 12, 2014 | 10:34am EDT

Democratic senators, including Jeanne Shaheen, Barbara Boxer, Sheldon Whitehouse, and Brian Schatz, prepare for an all-night talkathon on climate change -- and campaign financing. (AP Photo)

( - The day after Senate Democrats pulled an all-nighter in an attempt to recruit new climate-change believers, a Gallup poll says the American people aren't that worried about climate change.

Only 24 percent of Americans say they worry a great deal about climate change, Gallup found. In fact, both "climate change" and "quality of the environment" were near the bottom of a list of 15 issues Gallup asked Americans to rate.

Only "race relations" ranked lower than those two issues in Gallup's March 6-9 survey.

The majority of Americans say they worry about climate change and quality of the environment "only a little" or "not at all"; but more than half of Americans worry about the other 13 issues at least "a fair amount."

At the top of the list in this election year were the economy, federal spending, and health care.

Speaking on the Senate floor Tuesday, Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell questioned what the Democrats had accomplished with their all-night talkathon. He called it an "empty political stunt."

Democrats, who control the Senate, didn't introduce new legislation, nor did they announce a vote on any pending bills.

"They basically just talked. And talked. And tossed out political attacks at a party that doesn't even control the Democrat-run Senate. No wonder the American people have such a low opinion of Congress."

McConnell said the nation needs "two serious political parties in this country, debating serious ideas. When we see Washington Democrats throwing seriousness out the window like this, it's just bad for everyone."

If Democrats are really serious, they could -- and should bring up a "cap-and-tax" bill. "Let's have a debate," said McConnell, who opposes cap-and-trade.

But they won't do it, he added, "because too many members of their own party would vote against it."

McConnell said the American people don't want a "national energy tax" that would boost their utility bills. But he said Americans do want an end to the "jobs crisis."

"If only our friends on the other side were willing to talk a little less and work with us a little more, there's so much we could get done on that front."

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