In the latest Gallup poll, 60% of Americans favor reducing our reliance on fossil fuels, including 37% of Republicans and 60% of Independents. Interestingly for the prospects of passing Green New Deal legislation, 60% of Americans also believe it is “very likely” (22%) or “likely” (38%) that the country will dramatically reduce fossil fuel usage in the next 10 to 20 years, and roughly the same percentage favor policy proposals that aim to do it. The survey was conducted earlier this month. In what should be a strong rebuke to President Trump’s current fossil fuel favoring policies, only 28% of Americans want the government to put more emphasis on oil and gas and only 22% want more emphasis on coal, while a vast majority of Americans want to see more emphasis placed on the production of green energy sources — specifically solar power (80%) and wind (70%).
- The Gallup poll also showed that when asked if environmental and energy laws designed to reduce global warming will affect the U.S. economy, more Americans thought they would by a margin of 41% who thought those laws would hurt it, while 37% thought they would help it.
- But this actually represents an improvement over public attitudes on this same question when it was polled in 2010 — at that time, 49% of the public thought environment and energy laws would harm the economy and only 30% thought these laws would help it.
- Interestingly, support for natural gas production has dropped significantly since 2013 — by 19 percentage points — which is roughly the same percentage drop as oil during that time period.
Bottom line from the poll: Americans are very interested in seeing more renewable energy development, particularly solar and wind.
Why This Matters: With a Green New Deal Resolution up or down vote expected later this week in the Senate, the public’s attitudes about renewable energy versus coal and oil are evolving — with more support for “green” energy policy solutions than many in Congress may realize. Gallup summed up the poll’s takeaways this way: “Senators are unlikely to pass the Green New Deal in an upcoming vote on the legislation. But given that most Americans are open to legislation that has a goal of reducing global warming, the bill’s sponsors have reason to continue to search for a solution that’s more politically viable.” Still, we have a long way to go to convince the public that a Green New Deal would lead to more economic growth rather than less.