According to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll, over half of Americans are now in favor of tighter regulations in the wake of the chemical spill that affected the drinking water of over 300,000 West Virginians this month.
A resounding 51 percent of respondents said they believe the government should enforce more stringent regulations on companies that manufacture and store chemicals. About 30 percent thought the current regulations were enough, while just 7 percent thought less regulation is needed.
Not surprisingly, people who identified as Republican were more likely to not favor new regulations in the poll.
Earlier this month, 7,500 gallons of 4-methylcyclohexane methanol (a coal-cleaning chemical) spilled into the Elf River in West Virginia, forcing schools and businesses to close and leaving hundreds of thousands without drinking water.
But according to a report from the Huffington Post, very few Americans seem to be paying attention to the disaster:
[box type=”shadow”]Asked to choose between two recent stories about local events that made national news, 31 percent said that they were paying more attention to the chemical spill and 29 percent said they were paying more attention to “a controversy involving New Jersey Governor Chris Christie.” Another 34 percent said they hadn’t been paying attention to either story.
Even so, only 34 percent of Americans in the new poll said they were “very confident” that the tap water in their area was safe to drink, while another 38 percent said they were somewhat confident. A combined 25 percent said they were not very confident (14 percent) or not at all confident (11 percent).[/box]
Interestingly, those who drink tap water as opposed to bottled water were somewhat less likely to support more regulations on the water supply and the storage of chemicals.
[box type=”shadow”]Among those who mostly use bottled water, only 20 percent said that they are very confident in the safety of their own tap water, which may be why they’re already avoiding public water for drinking.
Overall, 54 percent of respondents said they more frequently drink tap water, and 43 percent said they most frequently drink bottled water.[/box]