Monday, January 25, 2010

Polling Shows Voters Support Action on Climate Change

Climate Progress notes that two very different pollsters have found strong support for action on clean energy. Democratic pollster Joel Benenson, who worked for Barack Obama in the 2008 campaign, found that most voters favor a climate change bill that includes a cap and trade provision, and would consider the issue in deciding how to vote in November:
56% would be more likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted in favor of the bill (just 35% would be less likely to re-elect). 50% would be less likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted against the bill (just 39% would be more likely).
And if Congress doesn’t pass legislation, voters want the EPA to act:
59% of voters agree and just 39% disagree that “if Congress doesn't pass this energy bill, the Environmental Protection Agency should take action to regulate carbon polluters.” Among Independents, support for EPA action is even stronger: 61% agree and only 37% disagree.
More surprisingly, Frank Luntz, the pollster who helped shape the message for Newt Gingrich’s Contract with America, found strong support for action on climate change, and offered some useful advice on how to make the case for action.
When asked whether "Global Warming is caused at least in part by humans," 42 percent said definitely and 22 percent said probably. That’s a total of 62 percent.
Luntz message tested three arguments for acting, and found this statement was received favorably by 57 percent of those polled:
It doesn’t matter if there is or isn’t climate change. It is still in America’s best interest to develop new sources of energy that are clean reliable, efficient and safe.
One might consider this to be a kind of Pascal's wager on the environment:
If we do it right, we get cleaner air.
We get less dependence on fossil fuels and enhanced national security.
We get more innovation in our economy.
More jobs, and more sustainable jobs.
And that’s if the scientists are wrong.
If the scientists are right, we get all of those things, and begin to solve what could be the most catastrophic environmental problem that any of us have ever faced.
Frank Luntz doesn’t have any new insights. It’s no accident that the Waxman-Markey bill is called the "American Clean Energy and Security Act of 2009" and the Kerry-Boxer bill is called the "Clean Energy Jobs and American Power Act." What is notable is such a prominent GOP pollster making the case for action on global warming. Environmental advocates should read what he has to say on this and take heed.

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