In a downtown conference room last Tuesday night, a group of eight Democratic voters, gathered for a focus group, were asked about the state of the environment. They used words like “horrible,” “dismal,” and “fragile.” But when it came to the upcoming US Senate primary, they didn’t name the Earth as a top issue. And most didn’t know the policy differences between Stephen Lynch and Ed Markey — including their positions on the Keystone XL pipeline, which Markey opposes and Lynch supports.
Then the pollster turned on a video about last week’s oil spill in Arkansas: interviews with people whose homes were destroyed by the type of Canadian sludge that Keystone would carry. The response was visceral, emotional. People who had supported the pipeline declared that they’d changed their minds. People said they’d vote against Lynch if he supported the pipeline.