CO2 Emissions

Published on October 30th, 2013 | by Silvio Marcacci


74% Of Voters Back EPA Power Plant Emissions Regulation

October 30th, 2013 by  

Fighting emissions regulations by the Environmental Protection Agency must be a winning national electoral issue, right? Otherwise why would so many politicians fight so hard to allow power plants to keep spewing pollution into the air?

Um, not so much. An overwhelming majority of voters in swing states across the country support EPA action to limit the amount of carbon power plants can emit, according to a new survey from the League of Conservation Voters (LCV).

By wide margins, voters in 11 states considered in play for 2014 Senate elections not only support emissions regulation, but trust EPA to administer the policy and say they’re less likely to vote for candidates who either oppose EPA’s proposal or deny climate change.

LCV EPA regulations poll

EPA regulations poll results chart via LCV/Huffington Post

Wide Support For EPA Across State & Party Lines

74% of voters support EPA’s proposals to limit power plant emissions. That support cuts across states Barack Obama (73%) and Mitt Romney (73%) as well as party identification for Democrats (92%), independents (72%), and Republicans (58%). “The anti-environmental message is a losing argument with the American people,” blogged Gene Karpinski, LCV President.

The LCV poll derived these findings from telephone interviews on October 9-13 with 1,113 likely voters in Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Georgia, Louisiana, Michigan, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, and Virginia.

It’s also probably not surprising to learn the public wants EPA to regulate emissions, not Congress. At the height of the government shutdown, voters preferred EPA regulation to Congressional action by a 5-to-1 margin, 66% to 12%

Anti-EPA Stance & Climate Denial Cost Votes

In fact, EPA opposition may actually turn out to be a harmful policy position for 2014 candidates. Nearly half (48%) of all voters said they would be less likely to vote for a candidate who opposed emissions regulation, while only 17% said they’d be more likely to vote for that candidate. By comparison, 44% of voters said they’d be more likely to vote for a candidate who supported power plant emissions regulations by EPA.

When presented with both sides of the argument (war on coal, higher electricity prices, and job killer were used against regulation while climate change, public health, and protecting the planet were used for regulation), 64% of voters said they wanted their senator to support EPA’s proposal.

Those same trends translate to voter perceptions about the threat of climate change. 65% of voters say climate change is a serious problem nationwide, and surprisingly say so at a higher rate in Romney states (67%) compared to Obama states (64%). 

And if candidates deny climate change, they may be shooting their campaigns in the foot. 63% of voters said hearing their Senate candidate deny climate change would make them view the candidate less favorably than one recognizing basic science.

Pro-Climate Trends Taking Shape One Year Out

Election Day 2014 could be a major turning point for clean energy and climate policy – if Republicans keep the House of Representatives and take control of the Senate, action would grind to a halt for the rest of Obama’s term. However, if Democrats cut into the GOP’s House majority and hold the Senate, Obama could cement his progressive legacy by pushing through renewables support and emissions reduction goals.

LCV’s latest survey tracks with a bipartisan poll from July 2013 that found young voters “intensely supportive” of action to fight climate change, and willing to punish those who ignore the problem. Now that those trends are showing up across the wider US population, on broader policy fronts, it might just be time to scrap that climate-denier, anti-EPA playbook.

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About the Author

Silvio is Principal at Marcacci Communications, a full-service clean energy and climate policy public relations company based in Oakland, CA.

  • debra haddix

    Wow, there’s a lot of morons out there

    • Bob_Wallace

      Are you ever right!

      It’s hard to believe that 26% of our fellow citizens are as stupid as they are.

  • A Real Libertarian

    “However, if Democrats cut into the GOP’s House majority”

    The latest polls indicate that the Republicans could lose their house majority.

  • Ivor O’Connor

    I like the idea of the EPA but like all government officials they work at being inefficient so they can hire more of their kind. We need to automate their tasks. And the automation needs to be paid for by the companies doing the pollution. The EPA should work at reducing its headcount by working smartly.

    • Bob_Wallace

      “all government officials they work at being inefficient so they can hire more of their kind”

      I’ve been a government employee and find that both incorrect and insulting to the many hard working government employees I know and have worked with.
      I’ve also worked in private enterprise. There are plenty screw-ups and screw-offs there.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        I’m glad you are no longer a government employee.

        • Bob_Wallace

          Me, too.

          I’m too old and cranky to be putting up with the abuse one gets from the public.

          • dcard88

            Yet the experience shows. Nice response.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Your experience with my crankiness?

            Get off my lawn and turn your cap around the right way!!!

          • doug card

            Huh? I just paid you a compliment. Should I avoid comments directed at you? Your post was an excellent response to a person who is ‘part’ (apparently) of the abusing public.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Guess I didn’t make my humor attempt obvious enough.

            I was doing my best John McCain impression….

          • Ivor O’Connor

            lol. I should be apologizing to you Doug for getting Bob all riled up. My views on government are not shared by him. (I’m an extreme libertarian who would like to see government reduced by 99% or more.) So I try to stick to common ground. That of moving towards RE.

          • Bob_Wallace

            Were there a way to reduce government services by 99% for libertarians without screwing things up for the rest of us.

            It would great fun to listen to them howl for their lost services when their planes started running into each other, their drugs no longer cured them, their food poisoned them, their kids couldn’t get assistance with tuition, their cars became death traps, the rivers around them burst into flames, people dumped hazardous waste on their lawns, financial agencies seized their cars and houses and they had no legal recourse, their banks failed and no one stepped up to replace the lost
            money, their savings were cleaned out by monopolies increasing the cost of necessities, they reached the end of their working life without Social Security or Medicare, and in the end they died on the sidewalk of a hospital which wouldn’t admit them because the hospital wasn’t required to take them in….

            “Hey! We don’t need no stinkin’ government. Just destroy all government and leave us at the mercy of the wonderful people with whom we share the planet. We know that none of them would ever attempt to harm us or take our stuff. A world without governments would be paradise!”

          • Ivor O’Connor

            You sound like somebody saying the sun doesn’t always shine and the wind doesn’t always blow and therefore RE is crazy.

            Lets move on.

          • Bob_Wallace


          • doug card

            Usually when I compliment people they say thanks

    • S.Nkm

      Indirectly working for the federal government (USGS), I can tell you from experience that those people are by far the hardest working people I’ve worked with in my career; the furlough was a huge blow to them. Private enterprises? Not even close.

      • Ivor O’Connor

        Unfortunately I have not had the pleasure to meet anybody from the USGS.

        Closest I’ve gotten to knowing anybody from the EPA was a person who ran a chemical R&D lab. She could tell stories about the ignorant EPA officials for days. Despite her close sister being a mucky muck in the upper echelons of the EPA.

  • Hans

    This would be relevant if the US was a functioning democracy. In reality political decisions are determined by the campaign donors of the politicians.

  • Steeple

    The “League of Conservation Voters”?

    I’ve got a poll commissioned by “Friends of Steeple” that has very different results.

    Who are we to believe?

    • dcard88

      LOCV has been around about 40 years longer than the Tea Party and has about the same number of members.

  • JamesWimberley

    Provided, of course, all the people who support climate action on the phone actually show up at the polling station on election day.
    Democrats will have to replicate the presidential GOTV operation to have a chance of doing well.

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