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Environmental Polling Roundup – February 3, 2023





Yale Program on Climate Change Communication (YPCCC) + George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication (GMU 4C)

Americans’ climate attitudes are continuing to grow more polarized, but bipartisan majorities support clean energy and conservation efforts (Executive Summary, Full Report)

The latest edition of the YPCCC and GMU 4C’s long-running “Climate Change in the American Mind” study draws on findings from a national survey conducted in December. The full report, linked above, is well worth reading for anyone interested in public opinion about climate change and clean energy.

Overall, they find that partisan polarization around climate change continued to intensify in 2022.

Just over half of voters (52%) believe that global warming should be a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress, reflecting little change since YPCCC/GMU 4C previously asked this question in April 2022 (50%). 

Beneath the surface, however, Democratic and Republican partisans continue to drift further apart in their climate attitudes:

Confirming what we’ve seen in other public polling, the YPCCC and GMU4C also find that climate change was a major issue for Democratic voters in the midterms. The clear majority of Democrats (64%) say that global warming was important for them in deciding how to vote, compared to just 14% of Republicans.

On the issue of clean energy, the survey finds that a durable, cross-partisan majority of voters want to see the federal government boost clean energy. Nearly two-thirds of voters (65%, up slightly from 61% in April) say that developing sources of clean energy should be a “high” or “very high” priority for the president and Congress, including 95% of liberal Democrats, more than four in five non-liberal Democrats (82%), and the majority of non-conservative Republicans (52%). 

However, only 28% of conservative Republicans say that clean energy should be a “high” or “very high” priority, reflecting the stark ideological divide within the Republican electorate on climate and clean energy issues. 

When it comes to specific energy proposals, voters – including most Republicans – support a variety of measures to incentivize clean energy and energy efficiency. Each of the following policies earns broad, bipartisan support:

Proposals to completely eliminate fossil fuels from the economy, energy supply, or roads, meanwhile, are relatively more polarizing – though “100% clean” goals earn majority support:

In terms of policies for energy production, the YPCCC and GMU 4C find that voters overwhelmingly support the expansion of clean energy. There remains a clear appetite for an “all-of-the-above” energy approach that unfortunately includes fossil fuels as well, however, as Republican support for fossil fuel extraction is still very high:

We’ve seen similar trends from other public pollsters like Pew, who have also found that Republicans tend to favor both clean and dirty energy sources and are accordingly resistant to phasing out fossil fuels even as they support clean energy expansion.

Of all the issues covered in the YPCCC/GMU 4C survey, conservation is the topic area that elicits the most bipartisan agreement:

The survey also assessed voters’ awareness and support for the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), confirming the common finding that voters know very little about the IRA but widely support it when they learn basic information.

The YPCCC and GMU 4C find that just over four in ten voters (43%) have heard at least “some” about the IRA, including only 13% who have heard “a lot” about it. After reading a description of the bill that largely focuses on its climate and clean energy components, roughly two-thirds (68%) say they support the IRA.

Despite this broad support for the legislation, however, voters clearly need to hear more about how the IRA could positively impact their own lives. Only about one in five (22%) expect that the IRA will help them personally, while one in five (20%) also say that they believe the IRA will hurt them personally and the plurality of voters (42%) expect that it won’t make much difference in their lives.


There is little sign of the “gas stove debate” breaking through yet, as voters of all political affiliations say that they like both electric stoves and gas stoves (Topline)

The latest national poll from Navigator touches briefly on the “gas stove debate” by asking voters how they feel generally about electric stoves and gas stoves.

Overall, Navigator finds that voters feel marginally more positively about electric stoves (74% favorable / 18% unfavorable) than gas stoves (69% favorable / 22% unfavorable).

And while attitudes about different kinds of cooktops line up to some degree with voters’ political affiliations, partisans don’t seem to be taking their cues from the debate playing out on cable news and social media about gas stoves – at least not yet.

Republican voters have more favorable attitudes about gas stoves (81% favorable / 15% unfavorable) than Democrats do, but Democrats still feel more positively than negatively about gas stoves by a two-to-one margin (60% favorable / 28% unfavorable). 

There’s also little sign of backlash from right-wing voters toward electric stoves, as Democrats (75% favorable / 14% unfavorable) and Republicans (74% favorable / 21% unfavorable) both have overwhelmingly positive opinions of electric cooktops.

Morning Consult

Americans are split on the idea of banning gas in new construction (Article)

New data from Morning Consult further indicates that the “gas stove debate” hasn’t done much to influence public opinion so far, as Americans’ attitudes about local bans on gas in new construction have held steady since Morning Consult previously asked about the topic in 2021. Morning Consult additionally finds that partisanship makes no noticeable difference in Americans’ self-reported choices of stoves in their own homes.

Pulling from the article linked above:

“Among the general public, 42% said they would support a ban on the use of natural gas in new construction in their communities, including 56% of Democrats and 28% of Republicans. Overall, 39% of U.S. adults would oppose such a ban, including 56% of Republicans and 26% of Democrats. The figures were essentially unchanged from a 2021 Morning Consult survey.

Similarly, 55% currently use electric stovetops, and 43% use gas stoves — with virtually no partisan differences on the question, consistent with findings in 2021. 

Within the next 10 years, 2 in 3 respondents said they are at least somewhat likely to consider purchasing an electric stovetop, while half and roughly a third, respectively,  said the same of gas and induction stovetops.”

When gas stove owners are presented with information about the possible link between gas stoves and childhood asthma, however, Democratic gas stove owners are more likely to express interest in replacing their gas-powered unit than Republican gas stove owners.

The survey informed respondents of a study estimating that one in eight cases of asthma in children is caused by gas stove pollution. Following this information, gas stove owners were split on whether or not it made them interested in replacing their gas-powered stove (46% interested / 44% not interested). Democrats were 22 points more likely to express interest in replacing their stove (59%) than Republicans (37%).

Data for Progress

Most Americans say they’re more likely to purchase an electric stove than a gas stove, and two-thirds support regulating the emissions from gas-burning stoves after reading about the harmful indoor pollution that they create (Article, Topline)

As in the Morning Consult survey, Data for Progress finds that the public already prefers electric stoves to gas stoves. 

Most Americans (54%) say that they would most likely purchase an electric stove if they were in the market for a new cooktop or range in the next 10 years, including majorities of both Democrats (57%) and Republicans (53%). Meanwhile, 36% of Americans say that they would purchase a gas stove and 9% would choose an induction cooktop.

And after reading about a Stanford University study on the pollution from gas stoves, Americans tilt further in favor of electric stoves and only about one-quarter remain more interested in gas-powered options (59% electric / 27% gas / 13% induction). Additionally, roughly two-thirds of voters (67% support / 25% oppose) support granting the Consumer Product Safety Commission the authority to regulate safe levels of emissions for gas-burning stoves after they read about the Stanford study.

The specific information about the study that was presented to survey respondents reads as follows: “A recent Stanford University study found that emissions from gas-burning stoves create more hazardous indoor air quality conditions and contain more greenhouse gasses than previously thought. Exposure to these emissions, which contain methane and nitrogen dioxide, has been shown to increase risk of asthma and other respiratory diseases, particularly in children.”

While this survey shows that there is a way to persuasively demonstrate the dangers of gas stoves to the general public, that doesn’t mean that the “gas stove debate” is a discourse that environmental advocates need or want to enter into.

After all, the debate as it’s being manufactured in the right-wing media centers on a made-up plan to take away people’s gas stoves. And, as the Morning Consult polling this week shows, outright bans on residential gas in new construction are not particularly popular. Americans tend to dislike “bans” in general, and public polling this week shows that plenty of other policies to reduce indoor gas pollution – including regulations on gas stove emissions, per the Data for Progress polling, and incentives to purchase electric appliances, per the YPCCC/GMU 4C survey – attract widespread support.

Given these dynamics, environmental advocates are better off focusing their communications on the wide range of climate and clean energy policies that Americans are willing to get behind instead of amplifying a debate around a fictional and far more controversial proposal.

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