Washington, DC, August 24, 2018 - Controversy over the use of plastic straws has stirred significant debate in recent months. An Ipsos/Buzzfeed poll found that most Americans (59%) would prefer to always receive a plastic drinking straw when they order a beverage at a fast food restaurant, and half (50%) would prefer to always receive one at a sit-down restaurant. Three-quarters (74%) Americans also report that they have used at least one plastic straw in the past week. A vast majority (78%) are familiar with recent efforts to ban plastic straws in places across America.
Despite widespread use of plastic straws, most Americans are open to limiting their circulation. Four in ten (41%) report that they have started using fewer plastic straws due to recent attention on the issue. Nearly half (48%) support local governments banning the use of plastic straws. However, there is a partisan split in this support, as Democrats (56%) are more likely than Republicans (41%) to support local governments banning the use of plastic straws. The majorities of both Republicans (76%) and Democrats (76%) support businesses choosing only to provide plastic straws on request, and 8 in 10 Americans (79%) also support businesses choosing only to provide biodegradable straws.
Similar to the local government ban, there are differing beliefs about the impact of plastic straw-use. Republicans (55%) are more likely than Democrats (33%) to believe that getting rid of straws will not have any major impact. Republicans are also much more inclined to believe that the government should not be involved in if they can use plastic straws (72% vs. 42% of Democrats).
About this Study
These are findings from an Ipsos poll conducted August 14-16, 2018, on behalf of Buzzfeed News. For the survey, a sample of roughly 2,009 adults 18+ from the continental U.S., Alaska and Hawaii were interviewed online in English. The sample includes 730 Republicans, 658 Democrats, and 411 Independents.
The sample for this study was randomly drawn from Ipsos’ online panel (see link below for more info on “Access Panels and Recruitment”), partner online panel sources, and “river” sampling (see link below for more info on the Ipsos “Ampario Overview” sample method) and does not rely on a population frame in the traditional sense. Ipsos uses fixed sample targets, unique to each study, in drawing a sample. After a sample has been obtained from the Ipsos panel, Ipsos calibrates respondent characteristics to be representative of the U.S. Population using standard procedures such as raking-ratio adjustments. The source of these population targets is U.S. Census 2013 American Community Survey data. The sample drawn for this study reflects fixed sample targets on demographics. Post-hoc weights were made to the population characteristics on gender, age, race/ethnicity, region, and education.
Statistical margins of error are not applicable to online polls. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error and measurement error. Where figures do not sum to 100, this is due to the effects of rounding. The precision of Ipsos online polls is measured using a credibility interval. In this case, the poll has a credibility interval of plus or minus 2.5 percentage points for all respondents. Ipsos calculates a design effect (DEFF) for each study based on the variation of the weights, following the formula of Kish (1965). This study had a credibility interval adjusted for design effect of the following (n=2,009, DEFF=1.5, adjusted Confidence Interval=+/-4 percentage points).
The poll also has a credibility interval plus or minus 4.1 percentage points for Republicans, 4.4 percentage points for Democrats, and 5.5 for Independents.
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