Public Resource

Environmental Polling Roundup - June 17th, 2022

David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium
06-17-2022

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling nationwide on voters’ attitudes toward the two major parties on climate and the environment, new state polling in California underscoring the urgency around climate action in the state, and new state polling in Florida about the state’s transition to clean energy. 

 

 

HEADLINES

  • POLITICO + Morning Consult - Voters trust Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress by wider margins on climate change and the environment than on any other issues (Topline, Crosstabs)
  • Fox NewsClimate change is the Democratic Party’s biggest issue advantage over the Republican Party, especially among swing constituencies (Release, Topline, Crosstabs)
  • NextGen California (California)Most California voters want to see the state address climate change “immediately”; climate change is by far the top issue for California Democrats (Release)
  • Environmental Defense Action Fund (Florida)Florida voters widely agree that the state’s utilities depend too much on fossil fuels for electricity and support expanding the use of solar energy in the state (Release)

 

 

GOOD DATA POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT

  • [National] 60% of voters say that passing a bill to address climate change and its effects should be a “top” or “important” priority for Congress [POLITICO + Morning Consult]

  • [National] More Americans say that climate change and the environment is the single most important issue to them than any other issue aside from the economy, health care, and guns [Economist + YouGov]

  • [California] The majority of California voters (55%) say that the state should take action on climate change “immediately” when given the choice between immediate action, action in the next few years, or no action at all [NextGen California]

  • [Florida] 75% of Florida voters agree that the state’s utilities depend too much on fossil fuels for electricity [EDF Action]

  • [Florida] 71% of Florida voters support expanded use of solar energy across the state [EDF Action]

 

 

FULL ROUNDUP

 

POLITICO + Morning Consult

Voters trust Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress by wider margins on climate change and the environment than on any other issues (Topline, Crosstabs)

 

As has consistently been the case in POLITICO and Morning Consult’s polling over the course of this election cycle, climate change and the environment are the two issues on which voters are most likely to trust Democrats in Congress over Republicans in Congress. Here are the specific issues that their latest poll asked about, along with the margins by which voters trust one party in Congress over the other to handle each:

  • Climate change - Democrats +20

  • The environment - Democrats +19

  • Protecting Medicare and Social Security - Democrats +10

  • Coronavirus - Democrats +9

  • Health care - Democrats +9

  • Voting rights - Democrats +8

  • Education - Democrats +5

  • Gun policy - Democrats +4

  • Energy - Democrats +1

  • Jobs - Republicans +6

  • Immigration - Republicans +7

  • National security - Republicans +14

  • The economy - Republicans +16

  • Inflation - Republicans +18

 

Importantly, while Democrats in Congress are trusted over Republicans by wide margins to handle climate change (Democrats +20) and the environment (Democrats +19), voters are much more divided in who they trust more to handle energy (Democrats +1).

 

This finding is consistent with the increasing polarization of attitudes about energy since the 2020 election. Recent polling has shown that Americans are divided between proposed solutions to the current energy crisis that emphasize clean energy and proposed solutions that emphasize fossil fuel drilling, and support for fossil fuels among Republican partisans surged after Biden took office.

 

Fox News

Climate change is the Democratic Party’s biggest issue advantage over the Republican Party, especially among swing constituencies (Release, Topline, Crosstabs)

 

The latest poll from Fox News (which, it should be noted, has a polling operation that is much more credible than its media operation) backs up the POLITICO / Morning Consult poll above in finding that climate change is a unique issue strength for Democrats heading into the midterms.

 

Below are the issue areas that the Fox News poll asked about and the margins by which respondents said they trust one party over the other to handle each:

  • Climate change - Democrats +15

  • Abortion - Democrats +8

  • Voting rights - Democrats +6

  • Election integrity - Democrats +3

  • The coronavirus pandemic - Democrats +3

  • Gun policy - EVEN

  • Preservation of American democracy - Republicans +1

  • Foreign policy - Republicans +8

  • Crime - Republicans +13

  • Inflation and higher prices - Republicans +19

  • Border security - Republicans +19

 

As this list shows, climate change is the sole issue on which Democrats hold an advantage (Democrats +15) that is comparable to the issue advantages that Republicans are centering their midterm campaign platforms around - including inflation (Republicans +19), border security (Republicans +19), and crime (Republicans +13).

 

The generic Democratic advantage on climate change is even wider among the major swing constituencies in this year’s elections, including independent voters (Democrats +23), suburban women (Democrats +24), and Hispanic voters (Democrats +36).

 

NextGen California (California)

Most California voters want to see the state address climate change “immediately”; climate change is by far the top issue for California Democrats (Release)

 

This NextGen poll of California voters approached the issue of climate action in an interesting way that captured Californians’ sense of urgency on the topic. Instead of asking a binary question about whether voters support or oppose climate action, the survey provided three options:

  • California “should take action immediately - later is too late”

  • California “should take action over the next few years, but it does not need to be immediate”

  • California “should not take action over the next few years”

 

The poll found that an outright majority (55%) believe that California should take action on climate change “immediately,” while just one-fifth (20%) believe that the state can wait instead of acting immediately and just one-quarter (25%) oppose climate action over the next few years.

 

The poll also found that climate is a uniquely important issue for Democratic voters in particular: 57% of Democratic voters in California say that climate and the environment are among their top three issue priorities, “twice as high as any other issue.”

 

Additionally, even in the midst of high inflation and economic unease, the poll shows that California voters prefer a candidate who is focused on climate change and the environmental issues facing the state over a fossil fuel-backed candidate who sets these issues aside in order to focus on the economy. The poll presented respondents with the following two hypothetical candidates and found that Californians would vote for “Candidate A” by an 18-point margin:

  • Candidate A is supported by environmental groups and says one of her top priorities is taking action immediately on climate change, addressing wildfires, droughts, air pollution and getting more affordable, clean, renewable energy

  • Candidate B is supported by oil and energy companies and says that, while she believes climate change is real, we should focus on keeping energy costs low and building the economy

 

Environmental Defense Action Fund (Florida)

Florida voters widely agree that the state’s utilities depend too much on fossil fuels for electricity and support expanding the use of solar energy in the state (Release)

 

This release includes some of the key findings from recent EDAF polling in Florida, which found broad agreement among voters that the state is too dependent on fossil fuels and accordingly should shift more toward renewables like solar power. Key findings cited in the release include:

  • 76% support expanding solar usage on state buildings

  • 76% want policymakers to create an energy independence plan for the state

  • 75% agree that Florida utilities depend too much on fossil fuels for electricity

  • 71% support expanded use of solar energy across the state

  • 70% support allowing businesses and organizations to finance small solar projects on their property

  • 65% support lower taxes and fees on electric vehicles