Society teaches us that public sentiment goes hand in hand with the economy. When the economy is doing great, people tend to worry less about money. Pew did a study that showed that over time, as less Americans prioritized economy as the top issue, more Americans began prioritizing the environment as the top issue. If people start seeing the environment as a more pressing issue than the economy, it is because the economy is not occupying their minds as much anymore. The economy becomes more bearable because it is improving.
The graph above shows this trend. The numbers on the right are the percentages of Americans who thought a certain issue should be prioritized over the others. Notice that the amount of people who thought the economy should be prioritized started decreasing in 2010, which was also the beginning of the post-Great Recession phase of America. Around the same time, we see the beginning of an upward trend in the amount of people that prioritized the environment. If change in public sentiment is a result of a change in economy, then we can signal 2010 as the beginning of the improvement of the economy. Trump has frequently argued that he is responsible for an improved economy, not Barack Obama, but people’s sentiments over time show that the economy was improving well before Trump. Trump wants you to focus on the economy while ignoring the environment, the very thing that people are becoming more concerned about. How will Trump react to this growing sentiment?