Voters Support Congressional Action on Comprehensive Energy and Global Warming Legislation

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As the House Energy and Commerce Committee prepares to  markup the American Clean Energy and Security Act, the Pew Environment Group released national survey findings demonstrating overwhelming support for decisive action on behalf of clean energy jobs, energy independence and reducing the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

To gain bipartisan perspective on American public opinion, the Pew Environment Group has commissioned national surveys by The Mellman Group, a leading democratic firm, and Public Opinion Strategies, a leading Republican firm.  Both have worked extensively throughout the United States for a range of corporations, nonprofit organizations and elected officials.

A national survey of likely 2010 general election voters conducted from March 25-29, 2009 by The Mellman Group found:

Americans want action to reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming.

  • 77% of voters favor action to reduce global warming emissions

Voters say their opinions of Members of Congress will be more favorable if they support a comprehensive global warming plan.

  • 50% of voters say they would view their Member of Congress more favorably if they support a comprehensive plan to create clean energy jobs and fight global warming, only 22% say they would view their Member of Congress less favorably.

Given the option, voters prefer that a polluters' fund  - an element of a legislative proposal that would require polluting companies to pay into a fund - be used for both Research and Development (R&D) and to fund an energy tax credit:

  • 44% of voters prefer proceeds from a polluters fund be divided equally between funding research and development and being returned to taxpayers in a tax cut or energy tax credit, 26% want to fund R & D only, 19% want to fund tax cut/energy tax credit only.

Even after being presented with arguments frequently used by opponents of climate change legislation including the so-called “energy tax” argument—a strong majority still supports a plan to curb global warming—62% support a plan, 39% strongly with 26% opposing, 17% strongly (73% of Democrats, 59% of Independents and 52% of Republicans).

 “Public support for action on global warming is overwhelming.  Voters clearly understand that reducing the carbon pollution that causes global warming will improve our economy by creating clean energy jobs and enhance our security by reducing our dependence on foreign oil,” said Mark Mellman, President of The Mellman Group.

The Mellman Group's findings are mirrored by separate research by Public Opinion Strategies.  Public Opinion Strategies' research probed voter opinions on dealing with global warming pollution and the impact this may have on the U.S. economy in two separate surveys, one conducted over the telephone among 800 registered voters and the other conducted online among 1,200 adults from April 5-8.  Findings show voters believe an economy using alternative energy sources would be stronger than it is today and efforts to reduce the carbon pollution that causes global warming would help our economy and create more jobs.  Key findings from the Public Opinion Strategies research include:

There is bipartisan enthusiasm for jobs that reduce our dependence on oil and jobs that improve energy efficiency.

  • 74% of Republicans, 70% Independents and 74% Democrats believe jobs that reduce our dependence on foreign oil are “very important” for helping the economy over the next five to ten years.
  • 63% of Republicans, 70% of Independents and 73% of Democrats believe jobs that are improving energy efficiency are “very important” to helping the economy over the next five to ten years.

Voters make the connection that efforts to combat global warming will help create jobs.

  • 59% of voters believe efforts to tackle global warming will create new American jobs.

A solid majority believes an economy that is less dependent on oil and coal, and more dependent on alternative energy sources, will be stronger than it is today.

  • 61% of voters believe the U.S. economy will be stronger if we become less dependent on oil and coal, and more dependent on alternative energy sources such as solar, wind and biofuels.  Only 11% believe it will be weaker. 

“These survey results clearly demonstrate that the American public wants its leaders to move decisively in tackling global warming.  Lawmakers on Capitol Hill should listen,” said Phyllis Cuttino who directs the Pew Environment Group's U.S. Global Warming Campaign.“Legislation must create new, enduring American jobs, protect our environment for future generations, enhance our national security and preserve America's international reputation.”

Please see the Pew Global Warming Web site for a summary of these polls.

Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the main Pew Campaign on Global Warming page.

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