Public Resource

Environmental Polling Roundup - January 7th, 2022

David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium
01-07-2022

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling about Build Back Better, a new Yale/GMU report on consumer activism, and a comparison of how strongly partisan voters on both sides care about the government’s approach to climate change.

 

HEADLINES

  • Yale Program on Climate Change Communication + GMU Center for Climate Change Communication - Majorities of Americans believe companies of every kind should be doing more about global warming (Article, Full Report)
  • Data for Progress - The Build Back Better plan and its major components were popular throughout 2021, and voters continue to back the plan by a nearly two-to-one margin once they know what’s in it (Article recapping 2021 polling, New poll release, New topline)
  • POLITICO + Morning Consult - Voters narrowly support the Build Back Better plan when it’s described as “Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion climate and social spending package”; a plurality of the legislation’s supporters say it’s moving too slowly (Topline, Crosstabs)
  • Reuters/Ipsos - Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they’d be “angry” if the government acts in opposition to their personal views on climate change (Release)

 

GOOD DATA POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT

  • Voters support the Build Back Better Act by a 61%-32% margin after reading a brief description of it including its major provisions and price tag [Data for Progress]
  • By a greater than two-to-one margin (62%-30%), voters support including $555 billion in the Build Back Better Act to expand the use of clean energy, prepare for extreme weather events, and create new American jobs in manufacturing and environmental conservation [Data for Progress]
  • 75% of Americans agree that companies should stop advertising their products and services on television networks that spread misinformation about climate change [Yale/GMU]
  • 70% of Americans agree that companies should purchase 100% clean, renewable energy to power their operations [Yale/GMU]
  • 65% of Americans agree that companies shouldn’t make campaign contributions to political candidates who oppose action to reduce global warming [Yale/GMU]
  • 64% of Americans agree that car companies should do more to encourage people to buy electric vehicles instead of gas- or diesel-powered vehicles [Yale/GMU]
  • More Americans say that climate change and the environment is the single most important issue area to them than any other issue area besides health care [Economist/YouGov]

 

FULL ROUNDUP

 

Yale Program on Climate Change Communication + GMU Center for Climate Change Communication

Majorities of Americans believe companies of every kind should be doing more about global warming (Article, Full Report)

 

This new report, entitled Consumer Activism on Global Warming, is the latest publication issued by Yale and GMU based on their national polling in September 2021. The report does a great job of illustrating one of the most important findings in climate polling over the last several years: even as climate change has become a deeply politicized issue, there is still opportunity to get broad majorities behind climate actions by taking them out of the “left vs. right” political frame and into more of a “people vs. polluters” narrative.

 

The survey asked Americans whether they thought companies in 22 different industries should be doing more, less, or about the same amount to address global warming, and found that majorities believe that companies of every kind - from fossil fuel companies to retailers to tech, media, and financial services companies - should be doing more on climate

 

Particularly large majorities believe that companies in the energy and transportation sectors should be doing more to address the issue. Here are the types of companies that Americans are most likely to say should be doing more to address global warming:

  • Fossil fuel companies (70%, including 45% who believe fossil fuel companies should be doing “much more”)
  • Airlines (69%, including 34% “much more”)
  • Auto companies (68%, including 39% “much more”)
  • Trucking companies (67%, including 34% “much more”)

 

The survey further found that majorities of Americans support some of the most impactful actions that corporate America can take to address the climate crisis - including  companies shifting to 100% clean energy in their operations and cutting ties with politicians and television networks that stand in the way of climate action:

  • 75% agree that companies should stop advertising their products and services on television networks that spread misinformation about climate change
  • 70% agree that companies should purchase 100% clean, renewable energy to power their operations
  • 65% agree that companies shouldn’t make campaign contributions to political candidates who oppose action to reduce global warming
  • 64% agree that car companies should do more to encourage people to buy electric vehicles instead of gas- or diesel-powered vehicles

 

When it comes to personal actions, about one-third of Americans (33%) say they’ve rewarded companies that are taking steps to reduce global warming by buying their products and 28% say they’ve punished companies that are opposing steps to reduce global warming by not buying their products. 

 

When asked why they might not punish companies for opposing climate action, majorities say they don’t know which companies to punish (71%) and that nobody ever asked them to do it (58%) - underlining that education and specific, personal appeals can go a long way to turning concerned Americans into activists on climate change

 

Data for Progress

The Build Back Better plan and its major components were popular throughout 2021, and voters continue to back the plan by a nearly two-to-one margin once they know what’s in it (Article recapping 2021 polling, New poll release, New topline)

 

Data for Progress’s polling in 2021 showed that very consistent majorities of voters supported the Build Back Better plan and its major individual provisions when they were told basic information about the legislation, as the group recaps in an article looking back on their polling on the topic over the course of the year.

 

Data for Progress also released new polling results this week showing that voters continue to support the legislation by a nearly two-to-one margin (61% support / 32% oppose) after reading a brief description of it, based on interviews conducted just before Christmas. 

 

The new poll also finds once again that majorities support the plan’s major provisions, with a two-to-one margin (62% support / 30% oppose) in favor of including $555 billion in the Build Back Better plan “to expand the use of clean energy, prepare for extreme weather events, and create new American jobs in manufacturing and environmental conservation.”

 

Consistent with past polling, Data for Progress also continues to find particularly high support for health care-related provisions including investing $150 billion to improve quality and expand access to long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities (74%) and investing $35 billion to expand Medicare so that it includes hearing coverage for seniors (72%).

 

POLITICO + Morning Consult

Voters narrowly support the Build Back Better plan when it’s described as “Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion climate and social spending package”; a plurality of the legislation’s supporters say it’s moving too slowly (Topline, Crosstabs)

 

This new poll released by POLITICO and Morning Consult, based on interviews conducted the week before Christmas, finds that voters support the Build Back Better plan by a 45%-40% margin when it’s described as “Democrats’ roughly $2 trillion climate and social spending package.”

 

Comparing this data to the Data for Progress poll above shows how important it is to continue educating the public about what’s included in the Build Back Better plan. While pollsters like Data for Progress that provide basic information about what’s in the bill consistently find majority support for the legislation, surveys that provide little or no detail - like this POLITICO/Morning Consult poll - tend to find much narrower margins in favor of it. 

 

The description used by POLITICO and Morning Consult, for example, provides no indication of the bill’s most popular provisions - including investments in clean energy, long-term care for seniors and people with disabilities, and expanding Medicare. 

 

This POLITICO/Morning Consult survey also shows that, even among the Build Back Better plan’s supporters, there is plenty of opportunity to increase the sense of urgency around the legislation and put more public pressure on lawmakers to pass it. A little under half of the plan’s supporters (45%) say that Democrats in the Senate are moving “too slow” to pass the legislation, while 36% believe they are moving at “the right pace” and 9% say they’re moving “too fast.”

 

Reuters/Ipsos

Democrats are more likely than Republicans to say they’d be “angry” if the government acts in opposition to their personal views on climate change (Release)

 

This new poll from Reuters and Ipsos provides further evidence that, while climate change has unfortunately become a politically polarizing issue, the partisan polarization around climate is fundamentally asymmetric: Democratic voters are far more consolidated in support of bold climate action than Republican voters are consolidated against it, and Democratic voters also tend to have stronger stances on the issue than Republican voters.

 

This new poll, for example, finds that Democrats (68%) are 16 points more likely than Republicans (52%) to say they’d be “angry” if the U.S. government acts in opposition to their personal views about climate change. 

 

The poll also asked respondents which party they believe has a better “plan, policy, or approach” on each of nine major issues. Consistent with public polling from other sources, like this December Morning Consult survey, Reuters and Ipsos find that the environment is the issue on which Americans are most likely to trust the Democratic Party (41%) over the Republican Party (23%)

 

The poll also provides more data to demonstrate that there is a clear wedge between the Republican Party and its own voters on environmental issues. Less than three in five self-identifying Republicans (57%) say they prefer the Republican Party’s handling of the environment - a lower figure than any other issue asked about in the poll, and far lower than other major issues such as the economy (on which 76% of Republicans prefer the Republican Party’s approach), jobs and employment (75%), and immigration (75%).