Photo via Luke Laurie
A recent Zogby telephone poll was conducted to gauge public opinion of the Waxman-Markey climate bill--and I have to admit that I was surprised by the results. The poll found that an overwhelming majority of Americans--71%!--support the bill. The results also packed a number of other startlingly positive climate bill-related revelations: it turns out that Americans of every age, income group, and political affiliation support the bill much more than previously thought. Read on for the revealing results. Climate Bill Down Party Lines
As mentioned above, the poll found that support than ran high among Democrats, Independents, and Republicans:
-89% of Democrats,
-73% of Independents, and
-45% of GOPers had a favorable view of the climate bill that passed the House of Reps in June.
Climate Bill and Jobs
-68% believe that the bill would not bring about job loss, and most believe instead it would stimulate job growth . . .
-51% believed promoting clean energy and fighting global warming would spur job growth, while 17% thought it would have no effect whatsoever. Another 29%, however, felt such policies would cost Americans jobs.
Should the Senate Act?
As you may know, work on the Senate's version of the climate bill has been delayed until September, and many fear it could be even longer. So what do Americans think the senators should do?
-54% think the Senate should act now, or as soon as possible, while
-41% feel they should wait.
Support for Your Congressmen in Climate Action
A big concern for many politicians in considering the climate bill was whether voting in favor would hurt their reelection chances--congressmen who live in coal, oil, or manufacturing heavy areas were worried their constituents would react negatively against them if they supported a climate bill. Yet . . .
-47% said they'd view their congressperson more favorably if they voted for a climate bill,
-21% said it would make no difference, and only
-29% said it would lead them to view their congressperson unfavorably.
Congressional Report Card on Climate Change
Finally, the poll asked the general question of whether Americans thought Congress was doing too much, the right amount, or not enough to address climate change. These were the encouraging results:
-45% believed Congress wasn't doing enough
-22% thought they should be doing more, and
-28% felt Congress was doing too much.
Almost all of these results are overwhelmingly encouraging, but it's important to regard polls like these with a grain of salt--it's by no means definitive proof that the American public has been permanently swayed to support the legislation. An ugly PR effort and some public maneuvering by the opposition could easily cut into those numbers--just look at how support for health care reform has dwindled thanks largely to the spread of misinformation and hardline tactics.
That said, hopefully these positive results will send a message to our lawmakers that the public is behind their efforts to address climate change and stimulate a clean energy economy.