A national poll conducted by the Centre for Climate Change Communication, George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, USA finds that American voters strongly support transitioning the U.S. to clean sources of energy, and think that transitioning away from natural gas will benefit Americans and their communities.
Conducted with Climate Nexus and the Yale Programme on Climate Change Communication, the poll that was released on Tuesday, October 27, 2020 also finds that voters think methane pollution makes global warming worse and support more regulations to prevent leaks.
Large majorities of registered voters support expanding the use of clean energy in the U.S. and policies that prioritise renewables over natural gas. More than eight in 10 (82%) say achieving 100% clean energy should be the primary goal of U.S. energy policy, while more than six in 10 (63%) say developing more renewables should be the priority when seeking to address U.S. energy needs, compared to gas (15%) or nuclear (9%).
Roughly the same number (64%) say that transitioning away from natural gas and appliances that use natural gas will give America safer, healthier communities and help the nation avoid the worst effects of climate change. Almost six in 10 (58%) say increasing production of renewables is more likely to create a greater number of good jobs than increasing production of fossil fuels (25%).
Almost half (47%) of voters correctly believe that methane pollution has increased in the past decade, and two-thirds (67%) of voters think the methane emission surge in recent decades has had an impact on climate change, with 39% believing it has had a large impact. Eight in 10 (80%) voters support regulations requiring oil and gas companies to reduce methane leaks.
Meanwhile, voters are split on support for hydraulic fracturing – commonly known as fracking – to increase production of gas within the U.S., with 42% of voters in support and 41% opposed. By a more than 3 to 1 margin (61%), however, voters favour more rather than less regulation (19%) of fracking.
And nearly three-quarters (74%) favour a jobs programme in which unemployed fossil fuel workers are paid to plug the tens of thousands of oil and gas wells that have been abandoned, and support oil and gas companies paying at least some of the programme costs (74%).
Majorities of voters think renewable energy will bring benefits to their communities. More than seven in 10 voters (71%) support policies to require electric utility companies to generate 100% of their electricity from clean energy sources, like solar and wind, by the year 2035, and almost two-thirds (66%) say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports such a requirement.
More than half of voters (54%) say they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support providing federal financial bailouts to the renewable energy industry, while only three in 10 (30%) say they’d be more likely to vote for candidates who support bailouts for the fossil fuel industry. And more than six in 10 voters (62%) say they would be more likely to support a candidate that backs a multi-trillion-dollar federal economic stimulus that prioritises investments in clean energy infrastructure.
About seven in 10 voters (71%) also favour full decarbonisation of the economy – eliminating fossil fuel emissions from the transportation, electricity, buildings, industry, and agricultural sectors – by 2050, and almost two-thirds (65%) say doing so would have a positive impact on jobs and the economy. Nearly six in 10 (58%) believe doing so would lower their energy bills. By more than a two-to-one ratio, voters support local regulations requiring new homes and buildings be built to run solely on electricity (59%) compared to gas (27%).
The survey was conducted between September 30 and October 1, 2020 with 2,047 registered voters in the United States. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.2% at the 95% confidence level.