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The Green New Deal has Strong Bipartisan Support


Dec 17, 2018 – (New Haven, CT) A new nationally representative survey of registered voters shows that 81% support a “Green New Deal” for the U.S.

Endorsed by at least 40 members of Congress to date, the Deal proposes to create jobs and strengthen America’s economy by accelerating the transition from fossil fuels to clean, renewable energy. The Deal would generate 100% of the nation’s electricity from clean, renewable sources within the next 10 years; upgrade the nation’s energy grid, buildings, and transportation infrastructure; increase energy efficiency; invest in green technology research and development; and provide training for jobs in the new green economy.

In the survey – conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication – we showed respondents a brief description of the Green New Deal, and then asked the question “How much do you support or oppose this idea?”

The survey results show overwhelming support for the Green New Deal, with 81% of registered voters saying they either “strongly support” (40%) or “somewhat support” (41%) this plan.

As expected, support is strongest among Democrats (92%). But a large majority of Republicans (64%) – including conservative Republicans (57%) – also support the policy goals as described in our survey.

“Our surveys have long shown strong support across the political spectrum for clean energy production. These new results further confirm that American voters see a clean energy future as a better future for America.” said Edward Maibach of George Mason University, co-lead investigator on the survey.

Notably, although our description of the Deal accurately provided details about the proposal, it did not mention that the Green New Deal is championed by Democratic members of Congress such as Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) and John Lewis (D-GA). Other research has shown that people evaluate policies more negatively when they are told it is backed by politicians from an opposing political party. Conversely, people evaluate the same policy more positively when told it is backed by politicians from their own party.

Therefore, these findings may indicate that although most Republicans and conservatives are in favor of the Green New Deal’s policies in principle, they are not yet aware that this plan is proposed by the political Left.

Indeed, before we shared our description of the Deal with survey participants, we first asked them how much, if at all, they had heard about it. Very few people had. In fact, 82% of registered voters had heard “nothing at all” about the Deal.

One potential implication is that partisan polarization about a Green New Deal could increase in the future. Going forward, the Deal will likely require bipartisan support among political and media elites to maintain existing bipartisan support.

Anticipating and making the public aware of potential arguments that may be used against the Green New Deal may also help maintain public support for it. In contrast, partisan framing in communicating about the Green New Deal – by either the Right or the Left – could activate partisan associations and erode the existing bipartisan support for the concept.

“While we see strong support among Republicans for the Green New Deal at this early stage, this could change if this issue becomes seen as a Right-vs-Left issue, rather than as a way to achieve common goals like creating jobs in diverse sectors for diverse populations, transitioning from fossil fuels to renewables, and achieving energy independence” said Abel Gustafson of Yale University, a co-lead investigator on this survey.

This nationally-representative survey also measured Americans’ opinions about many other aspects of climate change, climate policy, and renewable energy, and assessed how opinions vary by demographics and ideology. Additional findings from this survey will be published in a series of reports beginning in January 2019.

Methods

These data were produced by the bi-annual Climate Change in the American Mind survey — a nationally-representative survey of American adults conducted by the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. Surveys were conducted using the Ipsos KnowledgePanel®, an online panel of U.S. adults (18+), from November 28 to December 11, 2018. All questionnaires were self-administered by respondents in a web-based environment. This report includes only the registered voters (n=966) from the full sample (n=1,114).

References to Republicans and Democrats throughout include respondents who initially identify as either a Republican or Democrat, as well as those who do not initially identify as Republicans or Democrats but who say they “are closer to” one party or the other (i.e., “leaners”) in a follow-up question. The category “Independents” does not include any of these “leaners.”

Funding

The research was funded by the 11th Hour Project, the Endeavor Foundation, the TomKat Foundation, the Energy Foundation, the Grantham Foundation, and the MacArthur Foundation.

Principal Investigators

Principal investigators included Drs. Abel Gustafson (Yale), Seth Rosenthal (Yale), Anthony Leiserowitz (Yale), Edward Maibach (GMU), John Kotcher (GMU), Matthew Ballew (Yale), and Matthew Goldberg (Yale).

Contact

For questions about the survey, please contact:

Edward Maibach, 703-993-1587, emaibach@gmu.edu

Abel Gustafson, 203-432-1208, abel.gustafson@yale.edu

For more information, please visit: http://climatecommunication.yale.edu/publications/the-green-new-deal-has-strong-bipartisan-support/