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New Poll: Most Americans Want Government to Combat Climate Change, But Voters Deeply Divided Along Party Lines On Paying For Solutions
Nearly 4 in 10 Americans have not yet made up their minds on fracking, while just 2 in 10 say they favor the practice. About 8 in 10 say the United States should maintain its commitment under the Paris Agreement—even if other countries do not.
Sixty-five percent of Americans think climate change is a problem that the government needs to address, including 43 percent of Republicans and 84 percent of Democrats, according to a new survey from the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago (EPIC) and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. While the major political parties have in recent years frequently clashed over the need to combat climate change, the Paris Agreement, and the role of coal and fracking in our energy system, Americans are largely in favor of efforts on all fronts to combat climate change.
- To learn more about what Americans think about energy and climate issues, on September 27th attend or watch live online an event hosted by EPIC and the Institute of Politics featuring leading political pollsters Mark Mellman (D) and Neil Newhouse (R). Learn more about the event here and watch online starting at 6:15 pm CT at epic.uchicago.edu/live.
Some of the poll’s key findings are:
- Sixty-five percent of Americans say climate change is a problem the U.S. government should address. Another 12 percent say climate change is happening, but the government should not be involved in fixing it; 1 in 10 Americans say climate change is not happening; and 13 percent of Americans remain unsure if climate change is happening or not.
- When asked whether they would support a monthly fee on their electric bill to combat climate change, 42 percent of respondents are unwilling to pay even $1. Twenty-nine percent would pay $20, an amount roughly equivalent to what the federal government estimates the damages from climate change would be on each household. And, 20 percent indicate they are willing to pay $50 per month.
- Party affiliation is the main determinant of how much people are willing to pay to combat climate change, not education, income, or geographic location. Democrats are consistently willing to pay more than Republicans.
- Energy issues and climate change are important issues for about half of likely voters as they cast their ballot.
- A majority of Americans underestimate how much of the country’s natural gas supply comes from fracking, and many don’t hold strong attitudes about the practice. Among those who do have an opinion, twice as many oppose its use than support it.
- Only a quarter of Americans are confident that the United States will fulfill its obligations under the Paris Agreement to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.
- Americans have even less confidence in China and India meeting their obligations. But even if these countries don’t, 8 in 10 Americans say the United States should continue making progress to meet its own obligations.