Even Frank Luntz sees it as a winning message
Every major poll shows popular support for a bipartisan clean air, clean energy jobs bills that preserves a livable climate and reduces oil consumption (see “It’s all about Independents “” and Independence“). Guest blogger and CAP Senior Fellow, Daniel J. Weiss, discusses yet another major new survey — by Obama’s campaign pollster — with a similar finding. Weiss also examines a new poll by GOP master messager Frank Luntz — the former bane of climate realists (see Bush climate speech follows Luntz playbook: “Technology, technology, blah, blah, blah”). I’ll blog more about Luntz’s conclusions on messaging next week.
In the wake of Massachusetts’ surprising election of Republican Scott Brown to the U.S. Senate, several moderate Senate Democrats have expressed new found reservations about whether the Senate should pass a global warming pollution reduction bill. For instance, Sen. Dianne Feinstein (D-CA), with little knowledge of public concerns, said that “It’s clear from the hiatus a large cap-and-trade bill isn’t going to go ahead at this time.”
These fears are completely out of step with public opinion. On January 21, a Republican and Democratic pollster released separate polls that found that there is strong bipartisan support to reduce the pollution responsible for global warming.
Republican pollster Frank Luntz was a primary architect of the 1994 “Contract with America” that helped the GOP win the House for the first time since 1953. Luntz surveyed 1007 registered voters and conducted “Instant Response” qualitative dial sessions.
Despite endless attacks on climate science by Rush Limbaugh, Glenn Beck, and other Republican leaders, Luntz found that 43% of Republicans “definitely” or “probably” “believe CLIMATE CHANGE is caused at least in part by humans.”
Luntz also determined that there is strong bipartisan support for action on global warming:
“A clear majority of Americans believe climate change is happening. This is true of McCain voters and Obama voters alike. And even those that don’t still believe it is essential for America to pursue policies that promote energy independence and a cleaner, healthier environment.
“Americans want clean, safe, healthy, secure energy. That’s why Republicans and Democrats alike strongly support action to address climate change. Sure, Republicans are more concerned about the national security component and Democrats the health component, but support for action right now spans all partisan and ideological lines.”
President Obama’s 2008 pollster Joel Benenson found substantially similar results in interviews with 800 likely voters in 16 battleground states , conducted from January 6-10 on behalf of Clean Energy Works.
“As 2010 begins, public support for an energy and climate bill remains strong. Overall, 58% of likely 2010 voters support the bill and just 37% oppose it when told the following:
“This past summer, the U.S. House of Representatives passed an energy bill that limits pollution and greenhouse gas emissions through what’s been called a Cap and Trade plan and also invests in clean, renewable energy sources in America. Soon, the Senate will debate it.”
“Support/Oppose for Energy Bill that Contains Cap and Trade”
|Total %||Dem %||Rep%||Independent %|
Benenson found that 56% of voters would be more likely to re-elect their Senators that vote for the bill, with only 35% less likely to vote for re-election. On the other hand, half of voters would be less likely to vote to re-elect their Senator if s/he voted against the bill, while only 39% would be more likely to vote for re-election. In other words, support for limits on global warming pollution would be net political plus in these battleground states.
These polls were released on the same day that scientists determined that “the decade ending in 2009 was the warmest on record, new surface temperature figures released Thursday by the National Aeronautics and Space Administration show.”
Ignoring this latest evidence that global warming is already here, Senator Lisa Murkowski (R-AK) yesterday introduced her “Dirty Air Act” resolution to blow an Alaska-sized hole in the clean air act, letting big oil and coal polluters off the hook by dropping requirements for power plants to use modern technology to reduce pollution and produce cleaner energy. The Murkowski resolution – originally written by big energy lobbyists — would prevent the Environmental Protection Agency from enforcing the Clean Air Act against large carbon polluters.
The Benenson poll found that the Murkowski Dirty Air Act amendment is overwhelmingly opposed by voters in these battleground states.
“59% of voters agree and just 39% disagree that ‘if Congress doesn’t pass this energy bill, the Environmental Protection Agency should take action to regulate carbon polluters.’
“Among Independents, support for EPA action is even stronger: 61% agree and only 37% disagree.”
Frank Luntz and Joel Benenson are public opinion king makers. One helped make Newt Gingrich Speaker of the House, while the other was essential to the election of Barack Obama. Their separate polls confirm other recent polls: Democrats, Independents, and yes, even many Republicans support clean energy and global warming legislation that provides clean, safe, healthy, secure energy. Rather than hide behind the results of the Massachusetts Senate special election, Senators should respond to overwhelming public support for passage of global warming legislation.
 Voters were polled in the following states: Alaska, Arkansas, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Virginia, West Virginia
JR: Poll after poll makes clear this bill is a winning political issue:
- Swing state poll finds 60% “would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill” and Independents support the bill 2-to-1 (9/09)
- New CNN poll finds “nearly six in 10 independents” support cap-and-trade (10/09)
- Voters in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri overwhelmingly support action on clean energy and global warming (11/09)
- Overwhelming US Public Support for Global Warming Action (12/09)
- Public Opinion Stunner: WashPost-ABC Poll Finds Strong Support for Global Warming Reductions Despite Relentless Big Oil and Anti-Science Attacks (12/09)