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Two new polls show that the President’s poor record addressing climate change is a key issue for a large majority of Americans, particularly “persuadable” voters who ordinarily lean toward Republican candidates. A survey by the Pew Research Center found that 65% of Americans believe the government is doing too little to address climate change, and overwhelming majorities say they support such policies as large-scale tree planting efforts, tax credits for businesses that capture carbon emissions and tougher fuel efficiency standards for vehicles in order to reduce the impacts of climate change. Similarly, a recent poll of battleground state voters by the Center for American Progress (CAP) Action Fund and the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) found that President Trump’s failed climate record plus a positive vision for addressing the issue are important to key groups of voters.
Why This Matters: Climate change is undoubtedly a top-tier issue in this election. Former Vice President Biden raises it often in speeches and events and does not seem to fear that it will cost him votes, unlike his Democratic predecessors. These polls indicate that a bold climate plan that includes clean energy, clean cars, following the science, and prioritizing future generations will move voters in Democrats’ favor.
This poll looked at a specific subset of voters to hone in on whether climate change resonates with them. Specifically, they first surveyed persuadable registered voters and then did additional polling of non-Republican Hispanic voters and non-Republican younger voters. Here are the key takeaways:
There is a huge opportunity to move persuadable voters on the Congressional ballot using climate. While Republicans lead the generic ballot with these GOP-leaning persuadable voters by 9 points, when that is reframed as a choice between a Democrat who “supports taking strong government action to combat climate change” and a Republican who opposes such action, the generic ballot shifts to a 20-point Democratic lead – a net 29-point shift. Among center-right white women, the shift is even more dramatic, as these voters move from -36 to +12, an incredible 48-point shift.
Talking about climate is credible to voters in the midst of the public health crisis surrounding the coronavirus – and a majority of persuadable voters agree with Democrats who say clean energy should be part of how our economy recovers from the effects of the virus.
Critiquing Trump’s record on climate results in real movement away from Trump among persuadable voters AND increases motivation to vote for Hispanic and younger voters.
A broad majority of Americans (79%) say the more important priority for the country is to develop alternative sources, such as wind and solar; far fewer (20%) say the more important energy priority is to expand the production of oil, coal and natural gas.
Large shares say they would favor developing more solar panel farms (90%) and more wind turbine farms (83%).
There is far less support for expanding fossil fuel energy sources. Majorities oppose expanding coal mining (65%), hydraulic fracturing (60%) and offshore oil and gas drilling (58%).
A narrow majority of the public (55%) opposes more nuclear power plants in the country, while 43% are in favor. Larger shares of women than men oppose expanding nuclear power.
This past Sunday, France rode the green wave (or, as some of the French media has dubbed it, the green tsunami) as the country’s green party– Europe Ecologie Les Verts (EELV)– and its allies won big in major cities such as Lyon, Strasbourg, and Bordeaux. And the mayor of Paris, a socialist, also won handily.
Why This Matters: The local election has already pushed Macron to act on environmental issues.
Later this morning, House Democrats — Speaker Pelosi and (FOP) Representative Kathy Castor of the House Special Committee on Climate — will unveil the most detailed and sweeping proposal in a decade for dealing with the climate crisis, which reportedly also weaves environmental justice into every element of the plan.
Why This Matters: This is not a plan that the President can lambast as an end to capitalism.
By Miro Korenha and Monica Medina When we launched Our Daily Planet over two years ago, we wanted to change the conversation about conservation and climate change – to make these issues a key part of the political and policy discussion so that they would finally be addressed. We firmly believed then and still do […]
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