This post includes climate and environment headlines, data points, and key takeaways from recent public polls - including new polling on climate denialism, Big Oil and politicians, solar and wind projects near communities, electric vehicles, and religiosity and climate views.
Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund
Voters want to hold fossil fuel companies accountable and speed up the transition to clean energy; climate denialism and fealty to Big Oil are both major vulnerabilities for politicians [Report]
Washington Post + UMD
Most Americans would be comfortable with solar and wind projects in their communities; purchase costs and convenience remain the public’s greatest concerns about EVs [Clean Energy Siting Article, Electric Vehicle Article, Topline + Crosstabs]
Holding Big Oil accountable is good politics. Climate Power and the LCV Victory Fund find that voters prefer candidates who will “crack down on price gouging and profiteering” by major oil companies by a wide margin over candidates who want to give oil and gas companies tax cuts and incentives to increase fossil fuel production. Voters also have major concerns about politicians who are influenced by Big Oil donors, especially when they are informed that Big Oil-funded politicians are driving up costs for consumers by blocking clean energy development.
Climate denialism has become a major political vulnerability as more Americans feel the impacts of climate change and extreme weather in their own lives. Climate Power and the LCV Victory Fund find that majorities of Americans recognize that extreme weather is becoming more frequent and blame it on climate change. Voters accordingly have major concerns about candidates who deny the science of climate change and disagree with experts like NASA and the Department of Defense while refusing to act in the face of increasingly extreme heat.
Americans aren’t inclined to oppose clean energy projects in their communities, but we still need to be vigilant against anti-clean energy astroturfing. The Washington Post and UMD find that majorities of Americans, including self-identified Republicans and rural residents, would be comfortable with solar panel fields and wind turbines in their communities. While advocates should be encouraged that there is more public good will toward these types of local projects than conventional wisdom might suggest, it’s critical to cultivate and solidify that support in areas that are likely to see clean energy development. As we’ve seen in many cases, astroturfed opposition can quickly drown out support for these projects if local supporters aren’t as engaged and organized.
GOOD DATA POINTS TO HIGHLIGHT
[Clean Energy Siting] 75% of Americans say that they would be comfortable with a field of solar panels being built in their community [Washington Post + UMD]
[Clean Energy Siting] 68% of Americans say that they would be comfortable with wind turbines being built in their community [Washington Post + UMD]
[Extreme Weather] 70% of voters say that weather events like extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, and droughts are increasing in frequency [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]
[Extreme Weather + Climate Change] 61% of voters say that weather events like extreme heat waves, wildfires, flooding, and droughts are happening because of climate change [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]
[Energy Transition] 70% of voters say that it’s important for the United States to increase its use of clean and renewable energy sources like wind power and solar energy [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]
[Energy Transition] 63% of voters say that the United States should speed up the country’s transition to using more clean and renewable energy sources [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]
[Energy + Elections] Voters prefer a candidate who “supports cracking down on price gouging and profiteering by the major oil companies” by a 63%-23% margin over a candidate who “supports giving tax cuts and incentives to oil and gas companies to increase the production of oil and gas” [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]
[Energy + Elections] Voters prefer a candidate who “supports speeding up the transition to clean energy sources like wind and solar power to reduce the cost of energy” by a 54%-35% margin over a candidate who “supports increasing oil and gas production and building more pipelines to reduce the cost of energy” [Climate Power + LCV Victory Fund]