This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on the Inflation Reduction Act, the factors voters blame for high gas prices, and the issues that voters are prioritizing the most in the midterms.
- Data for Progress - Voters still know little about the Inflation Reduction Act; less than half know that the bill was passed and only around one-third know that it will boost clean energy (Article, Crosstabs)
- Navigator - Voters continue to blame oil and gas companies most for high gas prices; few put blame on environmental policies (Topline)
- POLITICO + Morning Consult - Climate change, the environment, and abortion remain the biggest issue differences between the two parties in voters’ minds (Topline, Crosstabs)
- Gallup - Climate change and abortion are the top issues for Democratic voters in the election, while the economy is the top issue for Republicans and independents (Article)
- Voters need to hear a lot more about the Inflation Reduction Act and how it will help tackle climate change. New polling by Data for Progress reiterates that voters have internalized very little about the Inflation Reduction Act; in fact, most don’t know that the bill passed and only about one third are aware of its investments in clean energy. A new Navigator poll shows once again that voters overwhelmingly support the Inflation Reduction Act when they learn about it, but much more education is needed to familiarize Americans with the bill and to show the public that the country can take meaningful action on climate change.
- While climate change isn’t top-of-mind for most voters in the election, it plays a big role in differentiating the two parties and motivating base Democrats. The economy is the dominant priority for the electorate heading into Election Day, but polls indicate that climate change can still play a major role in Tuesday’s results. POLITICO and Morning Consult find that climate change, the environment, and abortion are the Democratic Party’s biggest issue strengths over the Republican Party this year, and Gallup finds that climate change and abortion are also the most motivating issues for Democratic voters.
- It’s a good time to go on offense against oil and gas companies. Following up on polling released last week by Climate Power and Data for Progress, which showed that battleground state voters blame oil and gas companies for high gas prices more than anyone or anything else, new Navigator polling similarly finds that voters are holding oil and gas companies responsible for the surge in gas prices. With fossil fuel companies once again reporting massive profits at the expense of everyday people, the public is primed for messaging that calls out corporate polluters for their greed.
GOOD DATA POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT
- [Inflation Reduction Act] Voters support the Inflation Reduction Act by a 64%-27% margin after reading a brief, one-sentence description of it [Navigator]
- [Oil and Gas Companies] Voters are more likely to rank oil and gas companies among the biggest causes of high gas prices than Putin/Russia, Biden/Democrats, Republicans, or environmental policies [Navigator]
- [Issue Priority] More Americans name climate change and the environment as the single “most important issue” to them than any other issue besides inflation/prices, jobs/economy, and health care [Economist/YouGov]
Data for Progress
Polls have consistently shown that news about the Inflation Reduction Act isn’t breaking through to the public, and this new Data for Progress poll includes some of the starkest data we’ve seen to illustrate that point.
When asked about the status of the bill, just 39% of voters know that the Inflation Reduction Act has passed. An additional 27% incorrectly believe that the bill is still being debated in Congress, and 30% say that they don’t know the bill’s status.
Familiarity with the bill’s provisions is also very low, with just 32% able to identify clean energy tax credits as one of the bill’s major provisions. The provision to allow Medicare to negotiate prescription drug prices is the part of the legislation that voters are most familiar with, and still only 44% can say that it’s included in the bill.
These data points show that advocates still need to invest in a lot more communication in order to establish basic public awareness of the Inflation Reduction Act and demonstrate that federal climate action is possible.
Voters continue to blame oil and gas companies for high gas prices; few put blame on environmental policies (Topline)
The latest Navigator poll asked voters to rank six possible causes of the increase in gas prices, including global supply chain issues, oil and gas companies, Vladimir Putin and Russia, President Biden and Democrats, Republicans, and policies to protect the environment.
The poll finds that voters are more likely to rate oil and gas companies as the single most responsible cause for higher gas prices (23%) than any other potential target of blame aside from President Biden and Democrats (37%).
When counting the causes that voters rank as either most or second-most responsible for high gas prices, oil and gas companies end up with the most blame (47%) - just ahead of Biden and Democrats (45%) and Putin and Russia (43%).
These findings are consistent with battleground polling released last week by Climate Power and Data for Progress, which similarly found that voters were more likely to blame oil and gas companies for the increase in gas prices than Biden and Democrats or the war in Ukraine.
Navigator additionally finds that environmental policies are viewed as only a minor factor behind the hike in gas prices. Only 4% of voters believe that environmental policies are the most responsible cause for the price increase, and less than one quarter (23%) rank environmental policies as one of the two biggest reasons for the increase.
Elsewhere in the poll, Navigator provides further evidence that voters are hearing little about the Inflation Reduction Act but support it by a wide margin when they learn basic information about it.
Less than one in five (18%) say they’ve heard “a lot” about the bill, but voters support it by a greater than two-to-one margin (64% support / 27% oppose) after reading the brief description below.
“As you may know, Biden and Democrats' new legislation that has been passed by Congress is called the Inflation Reduction Act, which will give Medicare the power to negotiate lower drug prices, bring down health insurance premiums, and invest in clean energy like wind and solar power. Knowing this, do you support or oppose this new economic plan?”
POLITICO + Morning Consult
POLITICO and Morning Consult continue to track voters’ relative trust in the two parties to handle major issues. Their latest poll, released a week before Election Day, affirms a consistent finding from throughout the 2022 midterm election cycle: climate change and the environment, along with abortion rights, are the issues on which voters show the clearest preference for one party over the other.
The Democratic Party’s advantages in trust to handle these three issues are wider than any other issue advantages for Democrats, and also wider than Republicans’ advantages on any issue.
Here are the 16 issues that the poll asked about, along with the margins by which voters trust one party in Congress over the other to handle each one:
- Abortion access - Democrats +20
- Climate change - Democrats +19
- The environment - Democrats +17
- Health care - Democrats +11
- Protecting Medicare and Social Security - Democrats +11
- Coronavirus - Democrats +9
- Voting rights - Democrats +9
- Education - Democrats +7
- Energy - Democrats +2
- Gun policy - Democrats +1
- Jobs - Republicans +4
- Crime - Republicans +7
- The economy - Republicans +7
- Immigration - Republicans +9
- Inflation - Republicans +9
- National security - Republicans +10
Climate change and abortion are the top issues for Democratic voters in the election, while the economy is the top issue for Republicans and independents (Article)
Gallup finds that partisans are weighing very different sets of issues in the midterm election.
When voters are asked how important seven different issues are in their decisions about who to vote for for Congress this year, the economy ranks at the top (49% “extremely important”), ahead of abortion (42%), crime (40%), gun policy (38%), immigration (37%), relations with Russia (31%), and climate change (26%).
The low ranking for climate change as an electoral priority here is driven by an extreme degree of partisan polarization. Just 9% of Republican voters rate climate change as “extremely important” to their vote choice, while majorities of Republican voters rank the economy (64%), immigration (55%), and crime (55%) as “extremely important” in their vote choice.
Among Democratic voters, meanwhile, abortion (51% “extremely important”) and climate change (49%) rank as the clear top two issues in the election and are followed by gun policy (39%) and the economy (33%).
The economy is the clear top issue for independent voters (47% “extremely important’), with abortion (38%) and crime (37%) next-highest and climate change (22%) ranking relatively low.
The Environmental Polling Consortium (EPC) is a collaborative hub for the environmental community to share and discover public opinion research.
If you’d like to learn more about the EPC or are interested in becoming a member with access to non-public polling, contact EPC Partnerships Manager Leah Zamesnik at email@example.com