I know you’ve heard the established wisdom: The climate bill failed in large part because it lacked public support.
That was never true, as over a dozen polls we reported on in the last 3 years make clear (see them here and below). But that myth became popular because it suited the narrative of both the deniers and do-little centrist crowd and their enablers in the media.
What’s amazing is that even though essentially none of the major national “influencers” in the public arena — the President, Congress, media and so on — has been using their bully pulpit to talk about mandatory controls on carbon dioxide pollution for almost two years now, the public still supports it overwhelmingly. A full 65% of Americans support “imposing mandatory controls on carbon dioxide emissions/other greenhouse gases.”
Here is the key chart from Gallup:
That’s doubly amazing because the right-wing media has never stopped its assault on climate action, ensuring that at least Tea Party crowd thinks the whole notion is absurd. Again, climate action is a classic wedge issue that separates the extreme conservatives from everyone else in the country, as many polls make clear.
Gallup wins the award for the lamest headline, “Americans Endorse Various Energy, Environment Proposals.” They don’t just bury the lede, they ignore it entirely, offering this frame instead in the sub-hed, “Republicans and Democrats show substantially differing levels of support.”
Note that even 51% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents still support a policy that has been vocally opposed by every GOP presidential candidate and every conservative media outlet and was the subject of carpet bombing ads during the 2010 election.
I’d like to get a hold of the poll’s so-called cross-tabs, but it’s typical that independents have a level of support very close to the national average. The GOP/leaners number is likely driven by the conservative Republican males, especially over 50 — the Tea Party crowd — as it is on support for clean energy in general (see yesterday’s post, “Pew Poll: Clean Energy Is A Political Wedge Among Republicans“).
The great tragedy is that Obama chose to let climate action slide when there was that one brief shining moment in 2009 of both public support and progressive majorities in both houses (and, no, that doesn’t mean Obama deserves most of the blame for the failure — that ‘honor’ belongs to the fossil-fuel-funded disinformers and their allies in politics and the media, see “The failed presidency of Barack Obama, Part 2“).
Possibly a major push would not have succeeded, but the one thing we know for certain, is that not seriously trying was the sure road to failure [don't miss the classic last two lines of that video].
- Democrats Taking “Green” Positions on Climate Change “Won Much More Often” Than Those Remaining Silent
- Public support for action on global warming has grown since January (6/09)
- Opinion polls underestimate Americans’ concern about the environment and global warming (5/09)
- 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)
- It’s all about Independents — and Independence (1/10)
- Yale: When asked whether they “support or oppose regulation carbon dioxide” as a pollutant, 73 percent said yes, with only 27 percent opposed, including 61 percent of Republicans (2/10)
- Washington Post Labels Global Warming a ‘Wedge Issue’ — But Doesn’t Seem to Know What That Term Means
- Memo to policymakers: Public STILL favors the transition to clean energy: