The US Natural Resources Defense Council has released the results of a new “bipartisan” poll of five key states that sought “Views on Environmental Regulations,” which clearly show Americans are not only in favor of existing environmental protections — and in some cases favor tougher enforcement — but also support President Obama’s climate and clean energy initiatives.
The polling results are labelled as “bipartisan” due to the combined efforts of Democratic pollsters Hart Research Associates, and Republican polling firm American Viewpoint.
Together, the two firms — which conducted a survey of 2016 likely voters in Colorado, Florida, Maine, New Hampshire, and Virginia — found that “there is no appetite” for the “weakening of environmental regulations,” adding that “most respondents in these states believe that enforcement of environmental regulations is not tough enough.”
On top of that, the polling results showed that “there is a clear and significant preference for renewable energy sources over traditional ones.” While this is of little surprise, given what we know about global preferences for renewable energy, what was surprising is that the results showed this was “particularly” the case “among Democrats and Independents,” as well as “among many Republicans as well.”
“Americans are speaking out: they strongly side with the president’s commitment to deliver a safer and healthier planet for our children,” said Franz Matzner, associate director of government affairs at the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC), who commissioned the polling.
“And they’re clearly against the new congressional majority’s fossil-fuelled agenda to unravel decades of health and environmental protections, and block action on climate change. The bottom line is Americans don’t want dirty energy; instead, they’re calling for clean energy, health safeguards and steady resolve to protect our future from dangerous climate change.”
While investment in energy efficiency and renewable energy sources might be experiencing political uncertainty in the US due to the perceived-oncoming clash between Democratic President Obama and a Republican-led Senate, there is no such uncertainty for Americans. More investment in energy efficiency and renewable sources is quite clearly preferred across each of the five states polled.
Pleasingly, a desire for energy efficiency and renewable energy is not a Democratic-only problem.
“The message from our surveys is abundantly clear,” said Jay Campbell, senior vice president of Hart Research Associates. “Residents in these states—reflecting the attitudes of people across the country—favor policies that protect public health and the environment in a host of areas. And in most of these areas there is more agreement across party lines than dissension.”
A desire to expand programs that encourage energy efficiency is a uniform preference across Democrats, Republicans, and Independents. And while there is a larger gap between Democrats and Republicans on the need for further investment on renewables, the Republican view on approving projects like the Keystone pipeline is not as assured as some politicos may have hoped.
“While Republicans and Democrats in Washington may disagree on some of these issues, Republicans, Democrats and Independents in the states find areas of common ground in support of renewable energy and protecting the environment,” said American Viewpoint Vice President David Kanevsky.
Author’s Note — I was not sure whether the five states polled were actually a representative sample of the US, and after checking, each of the five states in question were won by the Democrats in the 2012 election (see below). That doesn’t necessarily discredit the work of this survey, as each of these states are obviously made up of voters from each of the parties — but it is interesting.
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