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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

By Joe Romm on September 2, 2009 at 7:01 pm

"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"

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The Politico reports on a new poll of 821 registered voters “in 16 key states who said they were likely to vote in next year’s mid-term congressional elections”:

In a poll obtained by POLITICO of likely 2010 voters in 16 states, many of them home to targeted senators, 63% of those sampled said they supported the energy bill while only 30% said they opposed the measure.

Further, 60% of respondents said they would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill while just 26% said they’d be less inclined to re-elect their senator for backing the “American Clean Energy and Security Act.”

Yes, this is precisely what ever other major poll shows (see Yet another major poll finds “broad support” for clean energy and climate bill: “Support for the plan among independents has increased slightly” plus links and Ruy Teixeira analysis below).

This poll is important because it interviewed likely voters in 16 states that have a large fraction of the swing SenatorsAK, AR, IN, ME, MI, MO, MT, NC, NV, ND, NH, OH, PA, SD, VA, WV.  More key results:

  • Independents support ACES by 59% support to 30%.
  • On job creation:  50% say the number of jobs will increase, 26% say it will decrease and 26% say it won’t change.
  • 53% say ACES will increase America’s standing as a world leader in renewable energy, 28% say it won’t change and just 10% say it will decrease.

Strangely, the Politico piece has an opening sentence that is flat wrong, politically:

With hope for Senate action on the energy bill dimming, advocates are aiming to prod reluctant senators with a new survey taken in swing states showing strong support for the legislation.

Hope isn’t “dimming.”  After many recent conversations with pundits, staffers, and real politicos, I find no substantive basis for that whatsoever.  Hope for Senate action is just about the same as it has always been — a tough slog, a 50-50 shot at best, unless Obama puts his full weight behind the bill, in which case passage becomes likely.

Indeed, what is most remarkable about this poll and the others is how strong support remains for the bill in spite of the best efforts of the well-funded opponents to spread disinformation:
“These poll results demonstrate that people support proposals that would boost clean energy technologies made in America, create 1.7 million jobs, and make us more energy independent,” said CAP’s Dan Weiss. “Despite big oil spending $80 million to smear the American Clean Energy and Security Act, a majority of Americans still believe that it would create jobs. Special interests’ scare tactics have failed.”
More polling:
I’ll end with a repost of a piece on last week’s Post poll by Ruy Teixeira, Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress, a leading expert on public opinion analysis:
With all the brouhaha about health care reform, it’s easy to forget the other big domestic policy priority before Congress: energy policy and climate change. Here the Obama administration’s approach continues to receive solid public support. According to just-released data from ABC News/Washington Post, support is running about a 2-1 ratio for the proposed changes to U.S. energy policy (57 percent to 29 percent).

chart on energy policy opinion

Moreover, more people think these changes would add jobs in their state than believe jobs would be lost (36 percent to 15 percent). Evidently, conservative attempts to characterize the energy bill as a huge job-loser have so far failed to sway the public.

chart on energy policy opinion

Support for a “cap-and-trade” approach to greenhouse gas regulation has also been holding steady. In June, there was a 52-42 support for this approach; today it’s an essentially identical 52-43 in favor.

chart on energy policy opinion

Finally, it’s worth noting that the public’s top-five-rated policy steps to address our country’s energy needs all involve alternative energy and conservation, not fossil fuels or nuclear: develop more solar and wind power (91 percent in favor); require car manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in this country (85 percent); develop electric car technology (82 percent); require more energy conservation by businesses and industries (78 percent); and require more energy conservation by consumers (73 percent).

It’s clear which way the public wants to go. Let’s hope Congress follows along.

chart on energy policy opinion

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