Public Resource
Environmental Polling Roundup - March 29th, 2024
David Gold, Environmental Polling Consortium

This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling and research on the EPA's vehicle emissions rules, utilities, and people’s emotional responses to climate change.



The Economist + YouGov
Americans are split on new vehicle standards when told that they will lead automakers to shift toward EVs; very few recognize that EVs are more affordable to maintain [ToplineCrosstabs]

Data for Progress
Voters mostly like their utility companies, but overwhelmingly oppose junk fees and utilities using customers’ money to fund lobbying and political activities [ArticleCrosstabs]

Yale + GMU
Different emotions about climate change are more closely linked with support for different types of policies to address it; fear is associated most with regulatory action like stronger emissions standards, while hope is associated most with proactive climate policies like investing in clean energy [ReleaseOpen-Access Article]



The public is much more supportive of vehicle emissions standards when they aren’t explicitly tied to EVs. The Economist and YouGov find that Americans are split on new EPA standards when they are told that the standards will lead automakers to make more EVs and fewer gas-powered cars. However, previous polling by the American Lung Association has shown that new EPA vehicle emissions standards are widely popular when they are accurately described as measures to reduce harmful pollution (and not framed as specifically promoting EVs). In communicating about the new EPA vehicle rules to the general public, advocates are best off focusing on reducing pollution - a universally popular goal - and not on the specific types of cars that automakers might use to meet the new standards.
Americans are hearing very little about the ways that EVs can save them money. The Economist and YouGov also find that voters widely and incorrectly believe that gas-powered cars are more affordable to maintain than electric vehicles, even as studies consistently show the opposite: that EVs are cheaper to maintain over time. Polling also consistently shows that the public is largely unfamiliar with new tax credits for consumers to purchase EVs. Amplifying information about EV tax credits and the long-term cost savings of EVs compared to gas-powered cars could therefore go a long way to convincing the public that EVs can be sensible options for everyday consumers. 


[Utilities] 72% of voters support legislation to prevent utility providers from using money collected from customers’ monthly bills to fund political activities [Data for Progress]
[Climate Change] 61% of Americans recognize that the world’s climate is changing as a result of human activity [The Economist + YouGov]
[Issue Priority] More Americans name climate change and the environment as the single “most important issue” to them than any other issue aside from inflation/prices and immigration [The Economist + YouGov]