New CNN poll finds “nearly six in 10 independents” support cap-and-trade

Six in 10 Americans support a cap and trade” proposal to cut pollution, according to a new national poll,” CNN reports (details at the end).  The recent Pew Research poll also found strong support for climate action:

graph of public supporting setting emissions limits

Of course, the Pew poll got a lot of attention for what it said about media miscoverage of the global cooling myth and the effectiveness of the disinformation campaign on climate science (see here).  But the more important news is that like a half-dozen recent polls, it made clear the public supports action on climate and clean energy:

And that’s pretty impressive given that the fossil-fuel-funded opponents of action have in aggressively ramping up spending on their anti-action campaign to mislead the public about the low cost of action and the high cost of inaction.

A leading expert on public opinion analysis, Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, writes of the Pew poll:

Health care reform is occupying almost everyone’s attention these days, which is understandable given its level of importance and how close we are to big decisions in Congress. But other critical issues remain on Congress’s agenda and will be taken up once the health care situation is resolved. On the top of that list is climate change. Just-released data from the Pew Research Center suggests the public is ready to move forward in this area….

… the public gives 50-39 support to “setting limits on carbon dioxide emissions and making companies pay for their emissions, even if it may mean higher energy prices” (emphasis added).

These findings indicate that legislators should not rest on their laurels even if they succeed in passing health care reform. The public appetite for change is clearly broader than that.

The poll also finds the public believes the United States “should join other countries in setting standards to address global climate change” rather than “set its own standards to address global climate change.”

It’s a poorly worded question, but who can disagree with that choice?  A better phrased WashPost polling question from June found almost three-fifths (59 percent) said the United States should take action on global warming even if other countries such as China and India are doing less to address the issue, compared to 38 percent who thought either we should take action only if these countries take equally aggressive action (20 percent) or we should do nothing (18 percent).

Graph: Should the United States address global warming even if other countries do not?

As should become clear to the public over the next few months, we are in the process of joining with other countries — and passing a domestic climate bill is the first step to making that happen.

UPDATE:  CNN reports:

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.

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 independents will be crucial to any cap and trade proposal,” Holland says. “Independents may not be red or blue, but they appear to be green. Earlier polls indicate that Independents believe in global warming and believe that the government can take steps to curtail the problem.”

4 Responses to New CNN poll finds “nearly six in 10 independents” support cap-and-trade

  1. Jeff Huggins says:


    At this juncture, many more scientists should be speaking out. (And the media should be covering credible scientists and scientific organizations when they do speak out.)

    At this juncture, responsible corporate leaders should be speaking out. (And the media should be covering them when they do speak out, pointing out the consistency with the larger scientific view.)

    At this juncture, moral philosophers should be speaking out about our moral/ethical responsibilities to address such a problem. Where are they? (And, the media should invite them to speak out and cover them when they do.)

    At this juncture, responsible politicians should be speaking out, much more than is currently the case. Here, I’m talking about those politicians who understand the science or at least the gravity of the situation, and who understand the need for change on the basis of the climate problem, energy independence, and the economic wisdom of developing a strong position with respect to the development and implementation of clean technologies.

    And, as one of the columnists in The Times writes today (I think Bob Herbert), we still need much more public engagement and positive public activity.

    I like the point that we are starting to see in the polls. And thanks, Joe, for covering it. Yet, of course, this is no time to rest. This is actually the time to pick up the pace.

    Be Well,


  2. I was part of a radio discussion on Los Angeles NPR affiliate KPCC FM 89.3 yesterday about the Pew Poll with Carroll Doherty, Associate Director at the Pew Research Center and Karen Sternheimer, Professor of Sociology at University of Southern California and author of, “Connecting Popular Culture and Social Problems: Why Media is Not the Answer.”

    Patt Morrison of the Los Angeles Time is the host and I didn’t think she did a very good job establishing what the facts are, just as I don’t think the Los Angeles Times has done an adequate job covering global warming and connecting the dots to accurately state the risks at hand.

    You can listen to this segment of Patt Morrison’s show here:

    Or you can listen to her entire show from yesterday here:

    Stewart Brand is the guest in the following segment talking about the use of nuclear energy as one climate change solution.

  3. Leif says:

    Damn the torpodes, full speed ahead. The lives you save may well be your children.

  4. Stephan says:

    This is about saving the environment for our future children, and it looks like more and more people are starting to realize this. As has been said before, this is a task that we have to accomplish all together and therefore it is amazing to see that more people are getting behind this!

    For more info on the environment, have a look at this Green News.