Poll: GOP Leaders Out Of Touch With GOP Voters On Clean Energy And Climate Change

Though Republican party leaders are often known for being dismissive or skeptical of climate science, a new survey has found Republican voters don’t necessarily share their leaders’ views on climate and energy.

The survey, conducted by George Mason’s Center for Climate Change Communication, polled Republican and Republican-leaning independents and found the majority of respondents accept climate change is happening — a step some influential Republicans have yet to take — and 62 percent of those think the U.S. should take steps to address the problem.

Here’s what else the survey found:

  • Republican voters support clean energy: 77 percent of respondents said they want America to use more renewable energy, and a large majority of them want the switch to happen immediately.
  • They believe the benefits of clean energy outweigh the costs: achieving energy independence and saving resources for future generations were more important to a majority of respondents than the increased government regulation and free market interference that the survey cited as potential costs of a major change in energy sources. This is at odds with Republican leaders’ recent stances on renewable energy: during the 2012 election, presidential candidate Mitt Romney condemned the Obama Administration’s “war on coal,” and several Republicans in congress have opposed government funding for clean energy.
  • Only about one-third of the respondents agree with the Republican party’s stance on climate change, a platform that in 2012 made no direct mention of climate change and lauded the economic value of coal and the benefits of the Keystone XL pipeline.

As scientific evidence of climate change’s immediate and future impacts has only grown over the years, many Republican leaders have become increasingly hostile toward clean energy initiatives and blind to the threats of climate change. The language of the 2012 Republican platform, for instance, was a far cry from the party’s 2008 platform, which acknowledged that human activity was increasing the amount of carbon in the atmosphere and reasoned that the “common sense” approach to the issue would be to take “measured and reasonable steps today to reduce any impact on the environment.”

But as the George Mason study demonstrates, public opinion hasn’t followed the party’s lead. A recent Stanford University poll found that 82 percent accept that the earth is warming, and 73 percent believe climate change-induced sea level rise poses a threat to the U.S. And a Pew poll released today found 65 percent of Americans think climate change is a “very serious” or “somewhat serious” problem. The Republican party has been said to be out of touch with voters on issues such as immigration and marriage equality — perhaps increasing public consensus can help the party evolve on climate change as well.

28 Responses to Poll: GOP Leaders Out Of Touch With GOP Voters On Clean Energy And Climate Change

  1. Rabid Doomsayer says:

    The GOP of today is not the GOP of history. The GOP today is owned by the 1%.

    Time for the non insane (not brought) Republicans to take back their party. Alternatively the GOP will become a memory

  2. Mike Roddy says:

    The Republicans don’t care if they blow it here, since polls don’t even put global warming near the top 10 of voter concerns. Congressmen know they can keep stealing, and get those Redskins seats, Scotland golf trips, and quality Georgetown hookers.

    Luntz will tell them how to deflect concerns- he’s already taught them that there’s no such thing as oil and coal, it’s actually “energy”, and they will be fighting for low utility rates. Add the personal photos with the 8 foot American flags in the background, endless references to “working families”, tough guy admonitions to places like North Korea and Eritrea, and tears whenever someone mentions “the troops”.

    No, they are going to stay bought. As Henry Miller once said, “One has to be a lowbrow, a bit of a murderer, to be a politician, ready and willing to see people sacrificed, slaughtered, for the sake of an idea, whether a good one or a bad one”.

  3. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    Edward S. Herman has a good piece during the rounds at the moment where he dissects the cynical humbug of the Right’s demand that, once the latest war of aggression and mass murder is launched, that we must all ‘support the troops’, or suffer the consequences. As he points out, in fact, the Right despise the cannon fodder that they send off to destroy foreign lands as much as they despise everybody other than themselves. The wretched mistreatment that awaits the veterans is proof positive of that. I like Miller’s quote, but even more do I love Mark Twain’s ‘Suppose you were an idiot. And suppose you were a member of Congress-but I repeat myself’. It applies also, in trumps, to the Australian Parliament, the greatest array of drongos that imbecility ever assembled.

  4. Bob Bingham says:

    If your main income and all your friends were in the fossil fuel industry would you embark on a policy that would close them down?

  5. Merrelyn Emery says:

    Maybe Mike but how many want to see their party reduced to a high decibel, extremist rump, approximating a cult? We have seen many examples in these pages that the tide has turned and these inflection points are not lost on many. There will soon come a day when a fateful decision will have to be made, maybe precipitating a split, ME

  6. Addicted says:

    The GOP voters are brainwashed fools, for the most part.

    More GOP voters support the progressive caucus’s budget than they do the Democrat or Republican budget, when they are not told who proposed those budgets.

    Let that sink in for a second. More GOP voters support the ideas of the left most wing of the democrats than even the most moderate ideas of the republicans.

    The only reason they don’t vote for them is that their tribal nature means they stick to republicans, even if that means swinging their position on a certain issue 180degrees every year.

  7. fj says:

    The poltical reality must make reasonable action on the scientfic reality possible.

    We have no time to lose.

  8. fj says:

    Climate action must be at wartime speed.

  9. That’s the problem in a nutshell. The source of their wealth and power is fossil fuels. They aren’t going to disempower themselves.

    Add in their self-serving religious conviction that white men are first in God’s eyes, and duty-bound by Him to sustain that natural order (witness the latest example, the near-ban of abortions in North Dakota), and it looks pretty hopeless.

    I think a confrontation is brewing. Who is our climate FDR? Our climate Lincoln? Or even our climate LBJ?

  10. They are tribal, exactly so. They are dualistic thinkers, convinced of their own innocence and rightness. And if they are by definition right because they are God’s chosen, the other side must be the opposite. It doesn’t matter what the facts are.

  11. Mike Roddy says:

    Republicans are not like they were in the old days, Merrelyn. When there is a vote over global warming, especially today, very few of them deviate. Their Party is taking on fascist characteristics, including ideological rigidity and intolerance of dissent. Since so much of their cash comes from the oil companies, change is not likely.

  12. fj says:

    GOP denier leadership depends on enforcement

    ” . . . false conformity and false enforcement reinforce each other, creating a vicious circle that can entrap a population into an ideology that few of them accept individually.”

    Steven Pinker, “The Better Angels of Our Nature”, Chapter: Inner Demons

  13. fj says:

    Opinion: @markos on the GOP’s doomed path @thehill

  14. M Tucker says:

    I have heard this for years now; Republican voters do not share the views of their representatives. Well, I DON’T BELIEVE IT! What I mean is it will not translate into votes. The only poll that counts happens on election day. All other polls are suspect. All opinions expresses need to be taken into context. Context like: will it cause the person to vote for someone who IS in favor of climate legislation, like maybe a Democrat. Face it not many Republican candidates will take up climate legislation in a campaign. The best you might hope for is someone like Huntsman. A guy who will say manmade climate disruption is real but never, ever, talk about government action. Let’s do a little test. McConnell is coming up for reelection. Let’s see how his insane past performance, voting record, and his idiotic speeches and press conferences influence his chances with Kentucky voters. My bet is he is just what Kentucky wants in the Senate.

    Another thing, all this talk about the tide has turned, or their back are against the wall now, or I can’t believe Republicans will continue to vote for idiots, is all a bunch of wishful, pie-in-the-sky, fantasy thinking that liberals are famous for. Look at Republican leaders. Look at who are considered the party leaders. Listen to what they are saying. Rubio and Christy have never once mentioned that the government ought to do something about climate disruption and they are the most moderate of the bunch.

    Republicans rule congress. They own the House outright and they dominate the Senate by forcing a 60 vote requirement on every bill. They are not against the wall. They rule the roost. When Cruz demands that any mention of climate change be removed from a bill he is not doing that because he is afraid. He is doing it because he is a bully and he has the power of his party behind him. They have the power and they use that power by asserting absolute domination.

    It really doesn’t matter if they continue to lose the presidential elections because all the power is really in congress.

  15. Joan Savage says:

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all in New York State if 62% – or more – of registered Republicans or GOP-leaning Independents “think the U.S. should take steps to address the problem.”

    But as we know, politicians pay far more attention to swing states and swing districts where voting blocs can shift party control.

    The poll doesn’t tell the distribution of electoral districts for the 62% of Republicans and Republican-leaning Independents. It would be very helpful to show a geographic distribution, indicating the ranges around that overall national percentage.

  16. fj says:

    Regarding polls, politicians, and media the fact is that climate change denial is a preposterous house of cards which major leaders, politicians, and media can bring down at any time

    . . . just like that little kid did in the story of the emperor that had no clothes.

  17. fj says:

    Climate change denial is a preposterous house of cards that will collapse on a moment’s notice depending on socio political, economic, and environmental conditions.

  18. fj says:

    During World War II they stopped making cars for nearly three years.

    Description of the financials is that the US did not see the end of The Great Depression until WWII; thereafter full employment and many years of prosperity after the war was over.

  19. Merrelyn Emery says:

    We’ll see. Many people can’t bear to be at odds with the great majority, ME

  20. M Tucker says:

    Full employment because so many were in the military or the merchant marine (the guys in the Victory and Liberty ships). Unemployment started to go down when the draft was begun in 1940. Half of the war effort was funded with War Bonds. High taxes were imposed but the government could only come up with half the money needed so they went to the people who were already paying higher taxes and asked for more money. And they paid because the entire country was of one mind: destroy Germany and Japan.

    Prosperity after the war, other than the recession in the ‘50’s, had everything to do with the US rebuilding Europe and Japan after the war.

  21. BobbyL says:

    It is well known that the Republicans in Congress are further to the right than Republican voters. This is the result of gerrymandering. In safe Republican districts you have Republicans vying on who can position themselves more to the right because mainly voters with more extreme views votes in primaries and they know the Republican candidate will win in the general election. The same thing is true with Democrats except they have not shifted their views toward the extreme. But the Democrats in Congress are more liberal than Democratic voters as a whole. The result of gerrymandering is that Congress grows more polarized and the members of Congress less and less represent the majority of voters in either party.

  22. fj says:

    And, this will be saving our planetary home in many ways advancing humanity and a much more positive situation.

  23. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    The polarisation problem is driven by the ruling parasite caste. How does a tiny clique of infinitely avaricious thugs control vast mass societies, while driving the 99% deeper and deeper into poverty, misery, debt and squalour? Why by ‘divide and rule’ policies, of course. Use your brainwashing apparatuses, the MSM, the ‘entertainment’ industry and the advertising incubus, to relentless foment and promote fear, hatred, envy and psychological dissatisfaction, and set the various classes, generations, sports club supporters, political partisans etc against each other. Promote ‘winner-takes-all’ outcomes in politics, sport, salaries, life opportunities, and, of course, make sure that the ‘winners’ are few, and gloatingly arrogant, and the ‘losers’ many, and bitterly hopeless. Make competition, rather than co-operation or collaboration, the only acceptable modus operandi, not to get the best results (that being a transparent lie) but to divide humanity into ‘winners’ and ‘losers’. Ensure that the range of acceptable opinion in the MSM narrows year after year, and make politics entirely Rightwing, and see that the former ‘Left’ parties steadily move Right, enabling the Right to move further and further Right, extinguishing all talk of ‘social justice’ and equality, of any type, be it income, wealth or opportunity. Do this, as has occurred in the West and been imposed from there on the rest of humanity, for forty years or so, and you end up where we are today. A global order, totally dominated by the Right, cruel, unjust, aggressive, vulgar and unscrupulous, and careering to destruction because our Masters are simply too morally depraved to care whether we live or die.

  24. Calamity Jean says:

    Our Masters aren’t just so depraved to care whether WE live or die, they are too depraved to care whether their own children and grandchildren live or die.

  25. Mulga Mumblebrain says:

    It’s a sobering reality.

  26. leopold gravano says:

    Yes. I would.

    dude, voting republican is not cool.

  27. leopold gravano says:

    My two big fears, and antagonists in my life: the republican party, and windows 8. Republicans are infinitely worse than windows 8. Windows 8 is pretty bad, though.