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5. Energy Production as an Economic Issue

5.1. Many registered voters think policies that promote clean energy will improve economic growth and create jobs.

A plurality of registered voters (45%) think policies that promote clean energy will improve economic growth and create jobs, while one in three (33%) think it will have the opposite effect, reducing growth and costing jobs, and 21% think it will have no impact either way.The full text of the survey item and response categories are: Please indicate which one of these statements comes closest to your own views – even if it is not exactly right: Overall, government policies intended to transition away from fossil fuels (coal, oil, natural gas) and toward clean energy (solar, wind) will… (a) Improve economic growth and provide new jobs; (b) Have no impact on economic growth or jobs; (c) Reduce economic growth and cost jobs.

Opinion is sharply divided along political lines; majorities of liberal Democrats (78%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (66%) think clean energy policies will have a positive impact on the economy and jobs. By contrast, more liberal/moderate Republicans think such policies will have a negative impact (36%) than a positive impact (27%), and about seven in ten conservative Republicans (72%) think the policies will have a negative impact.

This bar chart shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who think policies that promote clean energy will improve economic growth and create jobs. Many registered voters think policies that promote clean energy will improve economic growth and create jobs. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Fall 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.

5.2. Most registered voters think the clean energy industry will create more good jobs than the fossil fuel industry.

More than half of registered voters (57%) think increasing production of clean energy in the U.S. will produce more new jobs than increasing fossil fuel production, while 41% think the opposite (that increasing fossil fuel production will create more jobs than increasing clean energy production).The full text of the survey item and response categories are: Generally speaking, which do you think will produce more good jobs in the U.S.? (a) Increasing production of clean energy such as wind and solar; (b) Increasing production of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas.

Large majorities of liberal Democrats (87%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (77%) think clean energy production will produce more good jobs. In contrast, about half of liberal/moderate Republicans (52%) and about three in four conservative Republicans (76%) think increasing fossil fuel production will create more good U.S. jobs.

This bar chart shows the percentage of registered voters, broken down by political party and ideology, who think the clean energy industry will create more good jobs than the fossil fuel industry. Most registered voters think the clean energy industry will create more good jobs than the fossil fuel industry. Data: Climate Change in the American Mind, Fall 2023. Refer to the data tables in Appendix 1 of the report for all percentages.