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Politics & Global Warming, May 2017


4. Support for Policies to Address the Pollution that Causes Global Warming

4.1. Registered voters, except conservative Republicans, support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on coal-fired power plants. 

Seven in ten registered voters (69%) support setting strict carbon dioxide emission limits on existing coal-fired power plants to reduce global warming and improve public health, even if the cost of electricity to consumers and companies would likely increase.

A majority of Democrats (90%) and Independents (67%) support setting strict limits. Support among moderate/conservative Democrats (85%) has increased by 7 percentage points since our previous survey in November 2016 (see Tables). About half of liberal/moderate Republicans (52%) support setting strict limits, a decrease of 24 percentage points since November 2016. About four in ten (43%) conservative Republicans support such limits.

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4.2. Registered voters, except conservative Republicans, support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax.

Seven in ten registered voters (70%) support requiring fossil fuel companies to pay a carbon tax and using the money to reduce other taxes (such as income tax) by an equal amount – a plan often referred to as a “revenue neutral carbon tax.”

A large majority of Democrats (88%; an increase of 7 percentage points since our previous survey in November 2016, see Tables) and Independents (68%) support a revenue-neutral carbon tax. Support among moderate/conservative Democrats (86%) has increased by 12 points since November 2016. About six in ten liberal/moderate Republicans (59%) support a revenue-neutral carbon tax, a decrease of 8 points since November 2016. About four in ten conservative Republicans (43%) support the tax.

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4.3. Registered voters support diverse climate-friendly energy policies.

Registered voters support diverse energy policies, including many designed to reduce carbon pollution and dependence on fossil fuels, and to promote clean energy. Democrats are the most likely to support such policies, but majorities of Independents and Republicans do as well. Support for several of these policies has increased since our previous survey in November 2016, especially among Democrats and Independents (see Tables). Current support includes:

  • Funding more research into renewable energy sources such as solar and wind power: 86% of all registered voters (+4 points since November 2016), 95% of Democrats (+5 points), 82% of Independents (+6 points), and 76% of Republicans.
  • Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels: 84% of all registered voters (+4 points), 95% of Democrats (+6 points), 82% of Independents (+12 points), and 74% of Republicans.
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant: 77% of all registered voters, 94% of Democrats (+4 points), 75% of Independents (+4 points), and 57% of Republicans.

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