Republicans including the candidates who are vying for the GOP’s presidential nomination have failed to appreciate that voters are concerned about the health impacts of climate change and air pollution and they want governments to do something about it. This concern extends to support for the Clean Power Plan. While Republicans and dirty energy disregard the evidence on climate change and oppose the Clean Power Plan a number of polls suggest that the GOP’s resistance to the Clean Power Plan is at odds with the will of the American people.
A recent survey by Public Policy Polling suggests that this position is at at odds with the views of the American people. According to a public opinion poll in eight battleground states people are concerned about climate change and they support the Clean Power Plan. This same poll showed that Americans do not support Mitch McConnell’s suggestion that Republican governors should drag their feet on the implementation of the plan.
The disconnect between the Republican party and the American people was evident in another recent poll conducted by the GOP polling firm American Viewpoint. This survey asked Republican primary voters in the critical early primary states of New Hampshire and South Carolina about their views on energy and the Clean Power Plan in particular. This poll found that there may be a disconnect between many presidential candidates and likely primary voters. Primary voters in both states want their candidates to have a clean energy plan, and favor more investment in wind and solar power than in coal or oil. Though the vast majority of these respondents were conservative, a majority do not want to weaken environmental safeguards. A solid majority of these Republican primary voters believe climate change is underway and want to limit carbon pollution. A majority of them favor the Clean Power Plan.
A poll earlier this year conducted by the New York Times, Standford University and Resources for the Future, showed that the overwhelming majority of the American public, including half of Republicans, support government action on climate change. The poll also found that two-thirds of Americans said they were more likely to vote for political candidates who campaign on fighting climate change. The survey shows that Americans know that failure to address climate change is not an option, 83 percent, including 61 percent of Republicans said that if nothing is done to reduce emissions, global warming will be a very or somewhat serious problem in the future. The survey said that 74 percent of Americans want the federal government to do “a substantial amount to combat climate change.” Given their position on climate change the GOP should be concerned about the fact that 71 percent of Republicans said that climate change was caused at least in part by human activities and almost half (48%) of Republicans said they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports fighting climate change.
A more recent Quinnipiac University poll indicates that 58 percent of Americans think that government should limit the release of greenhouse gases from power plants.
Republicans have painted themselves into a corner. The American public wants action on climate change, and supports the Clean Power Plan, however the GOP’s ties to dirty energy and policy partisanship put them in an impossible situation of their own making.
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