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3. Support for Policies to Reduce the Pollution that Causes Global Warming

3.1. Most registered voters support climate-friendly energy policies.

Registered voters across the political spectrum support many energy policies designed to reduce carbon pollution and fossil fuel dependence and promote clean energy, including:

  • Funding more research into renewable energy sources: 79% of registered voters; 98% of liberal Democrats, 94% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 84% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 48% of conservative Republicans.
  • Providing federal funding to make residential buildings in low-income communities more energy efficient: 78% of registered voters; 97% of liberal Democrats, 94% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 75% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 48% of conservative Republicans.
  • Providing tax incentives or rebates to homeowners, landlords, and businesses to purchase appliances that can be powered without burning fossil fuels (such as electric water heaters, electric heat pumps, and electric induction cooktops): 76% of registered voters; 97% of liberal Democrats, 88% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 78% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 43% of conservative Republicans.
  • Providing tax rebates to people who purchase energy-efficient vehicles or solar panels: 75% of registered voters; 97% of liberal Democrats, 91% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 73% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 41% of conservative Republicans.
  • Regulating carbon dioxide as a pollutant: 74% of registered voters; 99% of liberal Democrats, 91% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 75% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 41% of conservative Republicans.
  • Transitioning the U.S. economy (including electric utilities, transportation, buildings, and industry) from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050: 66% of registered voters; 97% of liberal Democrats, 87% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 63% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 22% of conservative Republicans.
  • 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 [i.e., a revenue-neutral carbon tax]: 64% of registered voters; 93% of liberal Democrats, 81% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 57% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 26% of conservative Republicans.
  • Requiring electric utilities to produce 100% of their electricity from renewable energy sources by 2035: 62% of registered voters; 93% of liberal Democrats, 81% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 58% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 20% of conservative Republicans.
  • Requiring that by 2030, all new cars, trucks, and SUVs sold in the U.S. are electric vehicles: 44% of registered voters; 78% of liberal Democrats, 63% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 24% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 8% of conservative Republicans.

 

3.2. Most registered voters support conservation and restoration policies.

Registered voters across the political spectrum support a range of conservation and restoration policies, including:

  • Providing federal funding to help farmers improve practices to protect and restore the soil so it absorbs more carbon: 84% of registered voters; 97% of liberal Democrats, 92% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 91% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 64% of conservative Republicans.
  • Creating a jobs program that would hire unemployed coal workers to safely close down old coal mines and restore the natural landscape: 78% of registered voters; 99% of liberal Democrats, 93% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 84% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 43% of conservative Republicans.
  • Creating a jobs program that would hire unemployed oil and gas workers to safely close down thousands of abandoned oil and gas wells, which are a source of water and methane pollution: 78% of registered voters; 98% of liberal Democrats, 90% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 83% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 47% of conservative Republicans.
  • Increasing federal funding to low-income communities and communities of color who are disproportionately harmed by air and water pollution: 68% of registered voters; 98% of liberal Democrats, 87% of moderate/conservative Democrats, 57% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 27% of conservative Republicans.

 

3.3. A large majority of registered voters support renewable energy generation on public land.

A large majority of registered voters (79%) support generating renewable energy (solar and wind) on public land in the United States. This includes nearly all liberal Democrats (97%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (90%) as well as a large majority of liberal/moderate Republicans (85%) and about half of conservative Republicans (53%).

Smaller majorities of registered voters support fossil-fuel production in the United States, including:

  • Expanding offshore drilling for oil and natural gas off the U.S. coast: 59% of registered voters; 86% of conservative Republicans, 77% of liberal/moderate Republicans, 50% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 30% of liberal Democrats.
  • Drilling for and mining fossil fuels (coal, oil, and natural gas) on public land in the U.S.: 56% of registered voters; 86% of conservative Republicans, 73% of liberal/moderate Republicans, 44% of moderate/conservative Democrats, and 28% of liberal Democrats.

 

3.4. A majority of registered voters support building climate-friendly energy production and distribution infrastructure in the U.S.

Majorities of registered voters support building climate-friendly energy production and distribution infrastructure in the U.S., including solar farms (66%), wind farms (65%), electric vehicle charging stations (59%), and high-voltage power lines to distribute clean energy (58%). These include large majorities of liberal Democrats and moderate/conservative Democrats, and majorities of liberal/moderate Republicans, but fewer conservative Republicans:

  • Solar farms: liberal Democrats, 90%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 78%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 60%; conservative Republicans, 39%.
  • Wind farms: liberal Democrats, 90%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 74%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 60%; conservative Republicans, 39%.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: liberal Democrats, 90%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 77%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 43%; conservative Republicans, 29%.
  • High-voltage power lines to distribute clean energy: liberal Democrats, 73%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 61%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 53%; conservative Republicans, 48%.

Fewer registered voters support building nuclear power plants in the U.S. (44%). Support for building nuclear power plants appears to depend more on the strength of registered voters’ political ideology than on political party identification, with a majority of conservative Republicans (58%) and many liberal Democrats (46%) supporting it, but with less support from liberal/moderate Republicans (40%) and moderate/conservative Democrats (34%).

 

3.5. A majority of registered voters support building climate-friendly energy production and distribution infrastructure in their local area.

Majorities of registered voters also support climate-friendly energy production and distribution infrastructure in their local area, including solar farms (61%), electric vehicle charging stations (58%), wind farms (57%), and high-voltage power lines to distribute clean energy (54%). These include majorities of liberal Democrats and moderate/conservative Democrats, and many liberal/moderate Republicans, but fewer conservative Republicans:

  • Solar farms: liberal Democrats, 86%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 69%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 57%; conservative Republicans, 37%.
  • Electric vehicle charging stations: liberal Democrats, 89%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 75%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 38%; conservative Republicans, 29%.
  • Wind farms: liberal Democrats, 81%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 65%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 51%; conservative Republicans, 33%.
  • High-voltage power lines to distribute clean energy: liberal Democrats, 71%; moderate/conservative Democrats, 56%; liberal/moderate Republicans, 46%; conservative Republicans, 45%.

Fewer registered voters support building nuclear power plants in their local area (35%), including 44% of conservative Republicans, 37% of liberal Democrats, 31% of liberal moderate Republicans, and 27% of moderate/conservative Democrats.

In some instances, support is lower for building energy production infrastructure locally than nationally (see Section 3.3). This may reflect a degree of what is often referred to as NIMBYism (“not in my backyard”), in which individuals support development of certain types of projects generally, but oppose it in their local area, because they think the projects may negatively impact the natural environment in their area, their property values, etc.

 

3.6. A majority of registered voters would support a president declaring a national emergency to act on global warming.

More than half of registered voters (55%) would either “strongly” (23%) or “somewhat” (32%) support a U.S. president declaring global warming a national emergency to act on it if Congress does not take further action (see data tables, p. 51). This would be supported by large majorities of liberal Democrats (89%, with 50% saying they “strongly support” it; see data tables) and moderate/conservative Democrats (82%; 32% strongly support). By contrast, 39% of liberal/moderate Republicans and 10% of conservative Republicans would support it, while 90% of conservative Republicans would oppose it (including 78% who would “strongly oppose” it, see data tables).