Category: Public Opinion

Resource Category Topic Type
Urban-Rural Differences in Concern about the Environment and Jobs in the Puget Sound Region
Using data from a phone survey of 1,980 Puget Sound residents conducted in 2012, this fact sheet examines the severity of different environmental problems and compares the strength of concern about the lack of jobs and beliefs about the environment. Too few jobs and the loss of wildlife habitat were the two community issues most likely to be ranked as important problems among residents of Puget Sound. Environmental concern is higher among urban than rural residents, while those in rural areas are more likely than urbanites to believe the lack of jobs is a threat to their community.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Community, Employment, Environment, Public Opinion Publication
Views of a Fast-Moving Pandemic
In this brief, authors Thomas Safford and Lawrence Hamilton report the results of a Granite State Panel survey (March 17-26), asking New Hampshire residents about their views concerning government responses to the coronavirus (COVID-19) and whether they changed their daily routine because of the pandemic.
COVID-19, New Hampshire Climate Change, COVID-19, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion Publication
Was December Warm?
In 2015 New Hampshire experienced its warmest December on record. The temperature exceeded twentieth century average temperatures by a wider margin than for any month in historical records dating back to 1895. In February 2016, as part of an ongoing study of environmental perceptions, the Granite State Poll asked whether residents thought that New Hampshire’s recent December had been generally colder, warmer, or about average. Only 63 percent recalled or guessed that this exceptional month had been warmer than average. Some said they did not know; others thought that December had been about average. Sixteen percent thought it had been colder than average. January, February, and March temperatures were less extreme, but each ranked among the top fifteen warmest for that month, making the 2015–2016 cold season (December through March) overall the warmest on record. In April 2016, another Granite State Poll asked whether people thought that the winter just ending had been colder, warmer, or about average. Ground bare of snow through much of the season and the early arrival of spring (both in stark contrast to the snowy winter of 2014–2015) had been widely noticed,1 and 73 percent recognized a warm winter. But who recalled the unusual season and who did not? The two surveys found no significant differences in the accuracy of responses by men and women or by age groups. Nor did temperatures on the day of interview seem to matter. Married respondents, however, and people with children at home tended to be more aware of recent warmth. Awareness also was higher among those who agree with the scientific consensus on climate change. Connections between climate-change beliefs and perceptions about weather have been observed in other studies, although not with regard to such extreme and recent local events.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Climate Change, New Hampshire, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion, Trust Publication
What Do We Know About What to Do With Dams?
In this brief, authors Simone Chapman, Catherine Ashcraft, Lawrence Hamilton, and Kevin Gardner report the results of an October 2018 Granite State Poll that asked 607 New Hampshire residents how much they have heard, and their thoughts, concerning the question of whether older dams on New Hampshire rivers should be removed for ecological or safety reasons, or whether the dams should be kept. Most people admitted they have not heard or read about this issue, but at the same time they agreed that dams could be removed in at least some cases. The more people heard or read about the issue of dam removal, the more likely they were to support removal in some or most cases. These survey results highlight the need for communicating sound information to the public concerning the costs and benefits of possible dam management options— whether doing nothing, repairs and maintenance, or removal.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change, New Hampshire Infrastructure, New Hampshire, Public Opinion, Rivers/Watersheds Publication
Where Is the North Pole?
The north and south polar regions have been rapidly changing, affecting global weather and sea levels and sparking international concern about shipping and resources. While these global impacts occur, physical changes such as warming and less ice directly affect ecosystems and people living in polar regions. President Obama, visiting the northern Alaska town of Kotzebue in summer 2015, noted the impact of climate change on the American Arctic, where several towns may be abandoned due to rising flood risks in the next few decades, if not sooner. To explore public knowledge and perceptions about climate change, University of New Hampshire researchers conducted the first Polar, Environment, and Science (POLES) survey in August 2016. A random sample of U.S. adults were asked for their views regarding science, climate change, sources of information, current problems, and possible solutions. In addition, the survey tested basic geographical knowledge related to polar regions, such as whether the United States has a significant population living in the Arctic, and what respondents know about the location of the North Pole. Results from the survey highlight areas of knowledge, uncertainty, and division. Public views on almost everything related to climate change—acceptance of basic science observations, trusted sources of information, the seriousness of current problems, or the need for any policy response—exhibit wide differences depending on political orientation. In this election year, such divisions appear as stark contrasts between supporters of Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Geographic questions that are not obviously tied to climate beliefs evoke less political division, but often reveal low levels of background knowledge.
Community, Environment, and Climate Change Climate Change, Environment, Politics and Elections, Public Opinion, Trust Publication
Why People Move to and Stay in New Hampshire
Migration is important to New Hampshire’s demographic future. Traditionally, the state has grown both because of migration into it and because of the surplus of births over deaths. However, recently all of New Hampshire’s population growth has been due to migration. In this brief, authors Kenneth Johnson and Kristine Bundschuh analyze data from the University of New Hampshire Survey Center’s Granite State Poll to examine the characteristics of two groups of current New Hampshire residents—recent migrants and established residents—to understand why people move to and choose to stay in the state. Their findings illustrate that migration decisions are influenced by an interrelated set of factors that encompass elements of the state’s social, economic, and natural environment.
Demography, New Hampshire Birth Rates, Demography, Migration, New Hampshire, Public Opinion Publication