07/23/2007 - Today, the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency released new bipartisan polling from more than 30 congressional districts across Ohio, Tennessee, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, Florida and Michigan, showing overwhelming voter support for the U.S. House to pass fuel efficiency standards at least as strong as those passed by the U.S. Senate in June. The polls, conducted by The Mellman Group (D) and Public Opinion Strategies (R) from July 13-16, found vast support for increased standards in each of the individual congressional districts and states surveyed:
- Support among Ohio voters - 88% support
- Support among Tennessee voters - 89% support
- Support among Kentucky - 90% support
- Support among Pennsylvania - 89% support
- Support among North Carolina - 88% support
- Support among Florida - 89% support
- Support among voters in Michigan's 15th congressional district - 84% support
"Support for increased fuel efficiency standards in these congressional districts is overwhelming and unwavering. Large majorities demand higher fuel efficiency standards, even after being presented with the best arguments the opposition has to offer," said Mark Mellman, President and CEO of The Mellman Group. "Americans are clear: They want standards that are higher, come into force sooner and are not capped. Voters will reward those members of Congress who support their point of view."
The Senate passed a bipartisan compromise that would increase in fuel efficiency standards in cars and light trucks to 35 miles per gallon by 2020. In the House, Reps. Ed Markey (D-MA) and Todd Platts (R-PA) have introduced legislation that would lock-in that 35 mpg target, while the auto lobby is pushing a bill from Reps. Baron Hill and Lee Terry that significantly weakens and delays the bipartisan compromise agreed to in the Senate.
"It doesn't matter if you poll in Representative Patrick Tiberi's district in Ohio or Chairman John Dingell's district in Michigan. The results are the same: Voters across the political spectrum want Congress to pass meaningful fuel efficiency standards," said Bill McInturff, Partner, Public Opinion Strategies.
When presented with the core arguments on both sides of the issue, more than three quarters of respondents still supported higher fuel economy standards. Voter heard fuel economy critics' claims that higher standards would help foreign automakers at the expense of American companies, cost American jobs, deprive autoworkers of retirement benefits, result in unsafe cars, increase costs, and take vehicles off the market. Even in the face of these arguments, they still support requiring automakers to meet significantly higher CAFE standards.
"American voters reject the auto lobby's messages. Instead they believe that passing a 35 miles per gallon standard will help consumers make America more secure, and help a failing auto industry become more competitive with foreign automakers," said Phyllis Cuttino, Director of the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency. "We put industry's most compelling arguments before voters in these states and none gained any significant support. The voters have rejected these arguments and so should Congress."
View the polls:Pew is no longer active in this line of work, but for more information, visit the Pew Campaign for Fuel Efficiency campaign.