Voters like ‘green new tea;’ — until they get the price tag

Source: By John Siciliano and Josh Siegel, Washington Examiner • Posted: Thursday, March 21, 2019

A new poll out Wednesday from the conservative American Energy Alliance shows that voters may favor pieces of the “Green New Deal,” but in the end the majority doesn’t want to pay for it.

The Alliance is a pro-fossil fuel, free-market advocacy group headed by Tom Pyle, who was once a lobbyist for Koch Industries. Pyle also headed the Trump transition team at the Energy Department.

The Washington Examiner got an exclusive look at the polling results ahead of its release later today. 

Fifty-seven percent “totally favor” the idea of a “guaranteed job” outlined by the Green New Deal resolution issued last month by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-NY, and Sen. Ed Markey, D-Mass. The same number favor the resolution’s provision for government-sponsored healthcare. 

But support starts to get a little shaky when voters are asked about its call for the complete phase-out of coal, natural gas, and oil by 2030 to avert the effects of climate change. Forty-eight “oppose” the 2030 fossil fuel mandate, while 44 percent support it. 

When asked to respond to the statement that it will double the budget of the federal government by 2030, 58 percent “totally oppose” the Green New Deal. Similarly, when asked to respond to the Green New Deal causing the federal government to double in size in 10 years, 61 percent said they totally oppose. 

Most — 33 percent — think $100 per year in taxes is “too much” to pay to address global warming, while 30 percent said it’s not enough, and 29 percent said it’s just about right. 

When asked how much an individual voter is willing to pay to address global warming, 35 percent answered “zero.” The median was $50. 

Pyle says the polling shows that the Green New Deal supporters “win” when the discussion is general and aspirational. “When you start getting granular and telling the people the cost, who’s in control, who is making these choices… willingness to pay is practically none,” he said. 

Overall, the polling numbers show that environmental issues still rank low in terms of voter priorities compared to immigration, the president, and healthcare. Environmental issues and climate change have ranked low in order of priority for voters for years, although most think its an important issue, according to other polls. 

The poll was conducted by MWR Strategies, a consulting firm ran by Mike McKenna, pollster and conservative environmental consultant. It was conducted by phone with 1,005 likely voters, 45 percent of which say they normally vote Democrat, and 39 percent who normally vote Republican. The margin of error was plus or minus 3.1 percent. 

Pyle and McKenna plan to visit with the Republican side of the House Natural Resources Committee later on Wednesday to discuss the poll results.