60% of Americans Now Support Cap and Trade

Six in ten Americans support cap and trade, the mechanism at the heart of climate legislation in US Congress that uses the market to put a price on carbon emissions. Only 37% oppose it--these are the findings of a new national poll from CNN. And what's even more interesting is how those votes break down. According to CNN,

Sixty percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor "cap and trade," a Democratic sponsored plan in which the federal government would limit the amount of greenhouse gases that companies could produce in their factories or power plants. Thirty-seven percent oppose the proposal, which would penalize companies that exceed greenhouse gas limits with fines or by making those businesses pay money to other companies that producer smaller amounts of pollution.
Indeed--the trend towards supporting cap and trade has actually improved since we last checked in on Americans' thoughts on energy policy. In August, a poll found that 52% of Americans supported cap and trade, while 43% opposed it. Looks like all the dirty tricks being pulled by the coal and oil companies aren't exactly having the intended effect.

Here's how some of the numbers broke down in the poll:


  • The survey indicates a generational divide, with 68 percent of Americans under age 50 supporting "cap and trade" but those 50 and older split on the issue.

  • The poll also suggests a partisan divide, with three in four Democrats backing the proposal and nearly six in 10 independents on board as well, but only four in 10 Republicans supporting "cap and trade."

The support of the Independents is important to note--the fact that they're leaning green bodes well for energy policy reform prospects.

Another interesting consideration is that this poll comes right on the heels of a far more discouraging one--the one that came in last week showing that while 65% of Americans thought global warming was a serious issue, only 23% correctly identified what cap and trade was. This evidence seems to point to a failure on part of the mainstream media to correctly explain what cap and trade actually is--considering that it's at the heart of US energy reform efforts, and the core of a bill that's already passed the House of Reps, it should constitute headline news. But Americans seem to recognize the ideas behind cap and trade--moving towards clean energy, growing jobs and sparking innovation, curing our addiction on foreign oil, and cutting down on carbon emissions.

And they like what they see.

More on Cap and Trade
Obama's Cap and Trade Would Generate $645 Billion in "Climate Revenue'
Is Cap and Trade Just a Gift for Polluters?

Tags: Congress | Global Climate Change | United States