The growing gap on environmental issues between American political parties

As you might suspect from political discussions about environmental and green issues, a sociologist has some data to show the two major political parties in the United States are growing further apart.

Looking at League of Conservation Voters ratings of Congress and the Senate, Robert Brulle of Drexel University in Philadelphia passes along a revealing look at the history of the partisan divide on environmental issues. Averaging ratings for both parties, he and his colleagues show a sharply growing division that started back in the Reagan era.

Asked to comment on whether last week’s “24 Hours of Reality” event led by Al Gore would change any minds about climate change, Brulle pointed to the chart to express his doubts. “The real purpose of these campaigns is to generate news coverage,” Brulle says, stories a bit like this one.

While it is not like there was agreement on these issues in the early 1970s, a growing divide suggests this has become an increasingly political issue, perhaps just like religion.

As favorability ratings on Congress are still at low levels, is there any data to suggest that the two parties have closed the gap on any issues?

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