Voters object to cutting climate research — poll

Source: Hannah Hess, E&E News reporter • Posted: Friday, April 7, 2017

Two-thirds of American voters are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” that climate change will affect them or a family member personally, according to a new Quinnipiac University poll.

The nationwide survey of 1,171 voters also found majority support for discouraging the use of coal because of environmental concerns, while 36 percent said the United States should encourage coal use, citing jobs and economic benefits.

Three-fourths of those polled are “very concerned” or “somewhat concerned” about climate change, and 59 percent said more needs to be done to address the threat, without responding to specific policies.

“It’s personal. Climate change is an existential threat, many voters feel,” said Quinnipiac University Poll Assistant Director Tim Malloy in a memo accompanying the results. “They are concerned, and some are very concerned, about the looming menace of climate change.”

Another 18 percent said the federal government is “doing enough to address climate change,” while 18 percent said the nation is “doing too much.”

The March 30-April 3 poll also found Americans’ attitudes toward President Trump and Republicans are at a new low, giving Trump a 35 percent job approval rating. That’s worse than President Obama’s lowest rating in the poll of 38 percent in 2013. The poll had a 2.9-point margin of error.

Trump’s plans to lift climate rules and slash funding for federal agencies to research global warming are unpopular, the poll found.

Sixty-two percent of those polled said Trump should not remove unspecified regulations intended to combat climate change; 72 percent called it a “bad idea” to cut funding for scientific research on the environment and climate change.

An overwhelming majority — 92 percent — said it is “very important” or “somewhat important” that the United States produce all its own energy.

Most voters in the poll said the U.S. can fight climate change and protect jobs, while about a quarter said one goal hurts the other.

Voter opposition to Trump’s proposed wall along the nation’s border with Mexico is at the highest level measured so far.

Sixty-four percent of those polled said they would oppose building a wall on the U.S.-Mexico border, while one-third said they would support building a wall. That question split sharply on party lines, as it did last time voters were surveyed, with 72 percent of self-identified Republican voters supporting the wall and 92 percent of self-identified Democrats opposing it (E&E News PM, Feb. 8).

“And The Wall keeps tumbling down, or at least support for what was once a crowd-pleasing campaign promise,” Malloy said.

Those polled are evenly divided on whether they believe individuals in the Trump campaign coordinated with the Russian government to interfere in the 2016 presidential election.

Support is growing for an independent commission to investigate potential links between Trump campaign advisers and the Russian government. Sixty-eight percent support the concept, though a majority of self-identified Republicans said they oppose it.