Democrats and Republicans remain divided on how important they feel it is for the federal government to deal with climate change, according to a poll of 6,265 adults by the Energy Policy Institute at the University of Chicago and Associated Press and NORC at the University of Chicago. The poll found that among Democrats, 84 percent and 78 percent rank climate change and energy policy, respectively, as important to their vote in November, compared with 43 and 65 percent of Republicans. Democrats were also far more likely to say humans are driving climate change, at 67 percent, compared with 34 percent of Republicans. Younger Republicans, however, were more likely than older Republicans to say humans were to blame for climate change.

The findings revealed specific takes on budding energy and climate policy issues. On electric vehicles, it found 41 percent of Americans would like to purchase an electric vehicle — 54 percent for Democrats, 29 percent for Republicans. And even though higher earners were more interested in buying an electric vehicle (50 percent of respondents with incomes over $100,000 versus 33 percent of annual earners below $30,000), 60 percent of all respondents said they would pay for a non-Chinese electric car even if it cost $5,000 more. Yet just 37 percent backed consumer tax credits for electric vehicles.

A majority of Americans also do not support expanding natural gas exports, regardless of party, the poll found — while half of Republicans are on board with expansion, just 37 percent of Democrats are, amounting to 45 percent overall. But Republicans largely favor increasing oil and gas production, with 67 percent supportive, compared with 32 percent of Democrats. Divides remain stark on regulations, too: 78 percent of Democrats want rules to limit emissions from power plants and vehicles compared with 42 percent of Republicans.

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Areas of Focus: Public Opinion on Energy & Climate
Definition
Public Opinion on Energy & Climate
How important is fighting climate change to the American public? An annual poll released with The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research gives insight.