Public Resource

Environmental Polling Roundup - August 5th, 2022

David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium
08-05-2022

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on the Inflation Reduction Act and its specific provisions, as well as a new summary of polling on climate justice issues

 

HEADLINES

  • Climate Power + Data for Progress - Nearly three-quarters of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act after learning basic information about its provisions and its projected impact on the deficit; the most popular environmental components include ramping up clean energy, investing in conservation, and reducing pollution (Release, Topline)
  • Navigator - Nearly two-thirds of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act after learning that it includes measures to lower drug prices and health insurance premiums while investing in clean energy; supporters of the plan see it as a way to stand up for working people and hold corporations accountable (Release, Deck)
  • Economist + YouGov - Americans support the Inflation Reduction Act’s specific investment in climate and energy by a double-digit margin (Topline, Crosstabs)
  • POLITICO + Morning Consult - Voters aren’t hearing much about the Inflation Reduction Act, but more support than oppose all of its major provisions after learning about them (Article, Topline, Crosstabs)
  • Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) - A review of recent public opinion research finds broad support for climate justice goals, including investment in frontline communities (Article)

 

GOOD DATA POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT

  • [IRA] Voters support the Inflation Reduction Act by a 73%-22% margin after reading a short description of it, including its major provisions, how it is paid for, and its projected reduction of the national deficit [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] Voters support the Inflation Reduction Act by a 65%-24% margin after reading it described as Biden and Democrats’ “new economic plan” that “will lower costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, bringing down health insurance premiums, and investing in clean energy like wind and solar power.” [Navigator]

  • [IRA] 76% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s standards to ensure that businesses receiving government clean energy tax credits pay their workers a fair wage and make their goods in America [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 75% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments in conservation measures such as sustainable agriculture practices, the restoration of coastlines, and preservation of forests [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 74% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s grants to reduce air pollution at our nation's ports and improve public health in surrounding communities [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 73% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s provisions to ramp up production of American-made clean energy technologies in order to strengthen our energy supply chains and manufacturing industries [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 72% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s consumer tax credits to lower the costs of installing rooftop solar panels and clean and energy-efficient electric appliances [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 70% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s tax credits for businesses that produce clean electricity, electric vehicles, and other new clean energy technologies [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 70% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments in new clean energy technologies to safely capture and store pollution from industrial activities such as steel and cement production [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 69% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s investments to reduce pollution and improve public health in disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] 69% of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act’s penalties for oil and gas companies that are found to have pumped out excess methane gas pollution into the air [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [IRA] By a 64%-25% margin, voters say they are more likely to support a candidate for Congress who supports the Inflation Reduction Act than a candidate for Congress who opposes the Inflation Reduction Act [Climate Power + Data for Progress]

  • [Issue Priority] More Americans say that climate change / the environment is the single “most important issue” to them than any other issue besides inflation / prices, jobs / the economy, and health care [Economist/YouGov]

 

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • The Inflation Reduction Act is popular, and details on its provisions help to win over the public. Every public poll we’ve seen on the bill shows more support than opposition for it, including an especially wide margin of support in a poll by Climate Power and Data for Progress that included the most detail on the bill’s specific provisions and its focus on lowering costs for American families. 

  • Messaging about the Inflation Reduction Act is likely to be most persuasive if it focuses on lowering costs for everyday families, reducing prescription drug and health care costs, and investing in clean energy like wind and solar made here in the U.S. POLITICO and Morning Consult find that provisions related to prescription drug costs attract the broadest support, while the POLITICO/Morning Consult and Climate Power/Data for Progress polls both show that consumer clean energy tax credits and domestic clean energy manufacturing are also especially popular. Boosting clean energy and reducing health care costs is a clear winning combination, as Navigator finds overwhelming support for the bill when it’s described as a proposal to lower drug prices, bring down health insurance premiums, and invest in clean energy.

  • There are several broadly appealing climate and clean energy policies in the Inflation Reduction Act, putting advocates on strong ground to tailor a message that fits the particular issue focus of their organization or personal advocacy. Climate Power and Data for Progress find broad, cross-partisan support for policies that cover a wide range of priorities - including clean energy tax credits for both consumers and businesses, investments in domestic clean energy manufacturing, fair wages and benefits for clean energy jobs, investments to reduce pollution, and investments in conservation. For advocates and organizations that don’t have the flexibility to focus their communications around health care or clean energy, there are still plenty of other options of policies to highlight that should drive up support for the bill. 

 

FULL ROUNDUP

 

Climate Power + Data for Progress

Nearly three-quarters of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act after learning basic information about its provisions and its projected impact on the deficit; the most popular environmental components include ramping up clean energy, investing in conservation, and reducing pollution (Release, Topline)

 

Climate Power and Data for Progress tested support for the Inflation Reduction Act with the description below and found overwhelming support for the proposal (73% support / 22% oppose), including majority support from voters of every partisan affiliation (95% of Democrats, 73% of independents, and 52% of Republicans.)

 

“Some lawmakers in Congress have proposed the Inflation Reduction Act to lower costs for families. This bill will ramp up clean energy production, like solar and wind power, which will reduce energy costs and our dependence on foreign oil. 

 

It will also lower prescription drug costs and health insurance premiums for millions of Americans. It will be fully paid for by closing tax loopholes for corporations and the wealthiest Americans. It will reduce the national deficit by at least $300 billion.”

 

That description has yielded the highest support we’ve seen so far for the proposal, so climate and environmental advocates would do well to utilize similar framing when describing the bill’s elements and goals. With inflation and high prices continuing to poll as Americans’ top concerns, focusing on the various ways that the bill will lower costs for families should be an effective route to build support among general audiences.

 

Additionally, the poll finds that there is broad support for every single provision of the bill tested that relates to climate, clean energy, or the environment - indicating that there’s plenty of room for advocates and organizations to tailor an effective message that lines up with their particular issue focus.

 

The seven provisions below all garner support from 70%+ of voters, including majorities of Republicans:

  • Standards to ensure that businesses receiving government clean energy tax credits pay their workers a fair wage and make their goods in America (76% support overall)

  • Investments in conservation measures such as sustainable agriculture practices, the restoration of coastlines, and preservations of forests (75%)

  • Grants to reduce air pollution at our nation’s ports and improve public health in surrounding communities (74%) 

  • Ramping up production of American-made clean energy technologies to strengthen our energy supply chains and manufacturing industries (73%)

  • Consumer tax credits to lower the costs of installing rooftop solar panels and clean and energy-efficient electric appliances (72%)

  • Tax credits for businesses that produce clean electricity such as solar and wind power, electric vehicles, and other new clean energy technologies (70%)

  • Investments in new clean energy technologies to safely capture and store pollution from industrial activities such as steel and cement production (70%)

 

The five additional provisions included in the Climate Power/Data for Progress poll don’t have quite as broad appeal as the list above, but are still backed by wide majorities overall:

  • Investments to reduce pollution and improve public health in disadvantaged communities that are disproportionately impacted by climate change (69% support overall)

  • Penalties for oil and gas companies that are found to have pumped out excess methane gas pollution into the air (69%)

  • Grants for local communities to buy electric school buses, transit buses and garbage trucks so we reduce air pollution (65%)

  • A new government fund where American clean energy businesses can borrow money to launch projects, with a focus on those projects being in communities that have historically suffered the most from pollution (64%)

  • Consumer tax credits to reduce electric vehicle costs for lower and middle-income Americans by $7,500 for new electric vehicles and $4,000 for used electric vehicles (60%)

 

Navigator

Nearly two-thirds of voters support the Inflation Reduction Act after learning that it includes measures to lower drug prices and health insurance premiums while investing in clean energy; supporters of the plan see it as a way to stand up for working people and hold corporations accountable (Release, Deck)

 

Similar to the Climate Power / Data for Progress poll above, Navigator’s latest poll shows that voters widely support the Inflation Reduction Act after learning basic information about it. Navigator finds a 65%-24% margin of support for the proposal after the following description:

 

“As you may know, Biden and Democrats' new economic plan will lower costs by allowing Medicare to negotiate lower drug prices, bringing down health insurance premiums, and investing in clean energy like wind and solar power.”

 

Navigator additionally found that support for the proposal holds steady (66% support / 24% oppose) after respondents see the following description of how it’s paid for:

 

“Biden and Democrats' new economic plan would be paid for by increasing taxes on billionaires and multi-millionaires with income over $10 million, creating a minimum 15% tax on corporate profits, adding an additional 1% tax on corporations that use profits to buy back their own stock, and cracking down on tax evasion. Raising taxes on the wealthy and corporations would also go toward reducing the federal deficit.”

 

While the pay-fors don’t seem to do much to shift overall support further in favor of the plan, the poll interestingly finds that voters who support the Inflation Reduction Act tend to view it in populist terms. When asked to choose how to best describe elected officials or candidates who support the Inflation Reduction Act, those in favor of the plan gravitate most toward descriptions that say these political figures are “fighting for working people instead of the wealthy and powerful” (43%) and “holding corporations accountable” (33%). 

 

In a similar vein, when asked to choose the best descriptions of elected officials or candidates who oppose the Inflation Reduction Act, supporters of the plan are most likely to say that these unsupportive political figures are “looking out for their wealthy campaign donors” (40%) and “putting the interests of corporations over working people” (38%).

 

Economist + YouGov

Americans support the Inflation Reduction Act’s specific investment in climate and energy by a double-digit margin (Topline, Crosstabs)

 

The Economist and YouGov tested support for the Inflation Reduction Act in a few chunks, first testing its climate and energy investments, then its provisions to lower prescription drug prices, and then the combined package including climate / energy investment as well as provisions related to prescription drug prices and corporate taxes.

 

The poll finds that, when the bill’s climate and energy investments are separated from its other components using the description below, voters support the climate and energy component of the legislation by an 18-point margin (50% support / 32% oppose).

 

“Democrats in the U.S. Senate just put forward a $369 billion climate and energy package that promises to cut greenhouse gas emissions to 40 percent below 2005 levels by 2030.”

 

Despite this description’s explicitly partisan framing around the climate and energy investment, the poll finds that this climate and energy piece engenders much more support from Democrats (78% support / 9% oppose) than opposition from Republicans (22% support / 63% oppose). Additionally, the poll finds that independents favor the climate and energy piece of the legislation by a 46%-30% margin.

 

Meanwhile, the poll finds an overwhelming margin of support for the provision to “allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices while capping out-of-pocket costs at $2,000 a year” (60% support / 17% oppose).

 

Support for the full package is a bit less lopsided than that when respondents see it summarized with the language below, though an outright majority say they support the full bill and supporters outnumber opponents by a 20-point margin (51% favor / 31% oppose).

 

“Do you support or oppose the $369 billion climate and energy bill, which includes cuts in greenhouse gas emissions, gives government the ability to negotiate lower drug prices, and requires a minimum 15% tax on large corporations?”

 

The way that this Economist/YouGov poll isolated support for different major pieces of the Inflation Reduction Act as well as the combined bill shows that, while there’s a clear path to majority support for legislation focused just on climate and energy, touting the Inflation Reduction Act’s overwhelmingly popular provision to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices can only help boost support for the full package

 

POLITICO + Morning Consult

Voters aren’t hearing much about the Inflation Reduction Act, but more support than oppose all of its major provisions after learning about them (Article, Topline, Crosstabs)

 

The latest POLITICO/Morning Consult poll underlines why it’s important for the movement to quickly unify behind a strong positive message in favor of a climate-heavy reconciliation bill, as there’s a clear window of opportunity to define the Inflation Reduction Act in the public consciousness: just 19% of voters say they’ve heard “a lot” about agreement on a bill to address clean energy, health care, and taxes.

 

The poll also tested several of the proposal’s major provisions and found that, while the Inflation Reduction Act’s core climate and clean energy components are popular, the provisions with the broadest appeal relate to health care and deficit reduction. Here’s the full list of the bill’s provisions that were tested in the poll, ranked by the percentage in favor:

  • Placing caps on prescription drug price increases (77% support / 12% oppose)

  • Allowing Medicare to negotiate some prescription drug prices (73% support / 11% oppose)

  • Reducing the federal budget deficit by $300 billion (73% support / 9% oppose)

  • Limiting annual out-of-pocket prescription drug costs for Medicare beneficiaries to $2,000 (72% support / 11% oppose)

  • Offering tax credits to consumers who put certain renewable energy items in their households, such as rooftop solar and electric water heaters (64% support / 22% oppose)

  • Putting a 15% corporate tax minimum on companies that have usually paid little, if any, taxes due to credits and deductions (63% support / 21% oppose)

  • Providing $60 billion in incentives for clean energy manufacturing in the U.S., such as tax credits to speed up production of solar panels and wind turbines and to build clean technology manufacturing plants (56% support / 28% oppose)

  • Extending Affordable Care Act subsidies that are set to expire at the end of the year to 2025 (56% support / 25% oppose)

  • Investing about $369 billion in climate and energy programs over the next 10 years (54% support / 32% oppose)

  • Charging a fee to the oil and gas industry for excessive methane emissions (53% support / 28% oppose)

  • Offering $4,000 in tax credits for lower- and middle-income individuals to buy a used electric vehicle, and $7,500 to buy a new electric vehicle (50% support / 33% oppose)

  • Giving $80 billion to the IRS to improve its ability to investigate and recover unpaid taxes (43% support / 39% oppose)

 

Looking at the relative support for just the provisions related to climate and clean energy, the POLITICO/Morning Consult data reinforces that the Inflation Reduction Act’s policies that focus on boosting American-made clean energy are especially well-received by the public.

 

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC)

A review of recent public opinion research finds broad support for climate justice goals, including investment in frontline communities (Article)

 

This new article from the YPCCC affirms that, while polls show that Americans are generally supportive of several policies related to climate justice, a lot more public opinion research is warranted on the topic.

 

In particular, there’s a lot more work to be done to understand the climate and environmental attitudes and priorities of frontline communities. Additionally, the environmental movement would benefit from more deep-dive research on how to effectively communicate about climate and environmental justice in ways that everyday people can grasp. For example, a poll commissioned by WE ACT for Environmental Justice and the Environmental Defense Fund in 2020 found that only 39% of Americans are familiar with the term “environmental injustice.”

 

The YPCCC article includes some suggestions for future areas of opinion research, which the EPC wholeheartedly endorses:

 

“...[F]uture studies focused on climate justice should be designed in partnership with climate justice organizations. Such research could include a deeper exploration of public attitudes toward climate justice policies and practices. Future research might focus on specific audiences such as members of labor unions and workers of color; communities in specific geographic locations; in-depth analysis of underrepresented demographic groups such as Asian-American/Pacific Islanders and Native Americans/Alaska Natives; support for other relevant policies such as investments in extreme weather preparedness and resilience in frontline communities; and messaging that builds political support for these policies.”

 

In terms of existing research, the article utilizes aggregated data from the YPCCC’s national tracking surveys with George Mason University to demonstrate that there is broad support for targeting investments to communities at the frontline of the climate crisis. The Yale/GMU surveys show that nearly four in five Americans (79%) support providing federal funding to make residential buildings in low-income communities more energy efficient, and over two-thirds (68%) support increasing funding to low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by air and water pollution.

 

In addition, they find that Black and Hispanic Americans are driving support for the transition to a clean energy economy: 83% of Black Americans and 78% of Hispanic Americans support the goal of achieving a 100% clean energy economy by 2050, compared to 63% of white Americans and 70% of Americans overall.

 

 

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