Sustainability seems to have been largely absent from the conversation in the 2012 US Presidential campaign. Apart from a couple of fleeting moments when the spotlight has fallen on the issue—an argument between the candidates over energy policy in the second debate, and a joke about the President promising to stem the tide of the rising oceans by Mitt Romney in his convention speech—the American public could be forgiven for thinking that neither candidate cares much about sustainability issues.
However, as the 2012 Business for Social Responsibility conference gets underway, a finding from a recent GlobeScan poll of sustainability professionals from BSR member organizations suggests that, despite the issue being under-emphasized in the campaign, there is a large difference between perceptions of the candidates on sustainability.
When asked which candidate they felt would do the most to help fast-forward sustainability over the next four years, a majority (54%) of respondents from BSR member organizations around the globe say they feel that President Obama would do this. Remarkably few (just 4%) believe that Mitt Romney is more likely to do this. North American respondents favor the President even more, with almost two-thirds (62%) believing he is best placed to fast-forward progress on sustainability, compared to just 6 percent for Romney. Interestingly, this mirrors the result from European respondents (60% favour the President on this question, while just 2 percent cite Romney).
However, despite this clear preference of President Obama, almost a fifth of North American respondents (18%) say they do not have faith in either candidate to fast-forward progress on sustainability. And a further 12 percent simply do not know which candidate would be the best, perhaps reflecting the absence of any discussion of the subject in the campaign.
This post was written by former GlobeScan Research Director, Sam Mountford.