Thursday, December 10, 2009

More on Climate Change and Jobs

Summary: Job creation motivates Americans to support renewable energy policy by large margins.

Too bad we missed this for our post yesterday. A new McClatchy-Ipsos poll released yesterday finds that Americans are much more willing to pay to avert climate change if it creates new green jobs.

One sample of respondents was asked if they would support cap-and-trade legislation if it raised their utility bills $10 per month but also created new jobs. Of that sample, 69% said “yes” while only 29% said “no.” Even at an additional $25 per month, respondents said they would support cap-and-trade by a 60% - 36% margin if it created new jobs.

Another sample was not reminded of potential job creation associated with cap-and-trade. When that sample was asked if they’d support the legislation if it raised their utility bills $10 per month, only 50% said they would while 48% said they would not. At an increase of $25 per month, respondents opposed cap-and-trade by a 55% - 43% margin.

This would certainly suggest our conclusion yesterday was correct - Americans are more motivated to support new energy policies that curb global warming if they see the economic benefits associated with such policies. Environmentalism, while certainly important for some Americans, is not as important to the voting population in general as is the economy.

Democrats need to recognize the importance of this when constructing their message going into 2010.

Another interesting find of this survey was that 70% of respondents said they think global warming is real. 61% of those individuals believed it was due to the burning of fossil fuels.

What makes that finding somewhat surprising is that the Copenhagen Conference had not been convened yet when the survey was taking place - and thus, less was being said in defense of largely-accepted climate science - but “Climate-Gate” had already gone viral. But despite the new attention towards climate change this month, these findings are fairly consistent with other polls this year.

Among the other findings:

On Climate Change:

• Hispanics (69%), adults under 35 (54%), African-Americans (52%), parents of children under 18 (50%), and college graduates (49%) are among those most likely to say humans are to blame for the increasing temperatures.

• Those who are more likely to believe global warming is part of natural environmental patterns include retirees (31%) and Republicans (30%).

• Views on global warming vary drastically across party lines. While a majority of Democrats accept that global warming is happening and hold humans accountable for it (58%), a plurality of Republicans (43%) do not believe that the world’s temperatures have been rising slowly over the past 100 years.

On Cap-and-Trade:

• Younger adults, particularly those under 35 (68%), are more like than adults aged 55 and older (38%) to favor a Cap and Trade system.

• Hispanics (73%), African-Americans (64%), and parents (61%) are also more likely offer their support.

• Across partisan lines, two thirds of Democrats (67%) are supportive of such a system, while a majority of Republicans are opposed (59%). Independents are divided on this measure, as they are roughly as likely to be in favor (45%) as they are to be in opposition (41%).

Tomorrow we continue our series “Hollywood Does Politics!”

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