EPC Resource Library / Weekly Roundups

Environmental Polling Roundup – May 17, 2024





Oil and gas companies remain deeply unpopular. The majority of voters (56%) have unfavorable attitudes about oil and gas companies, while just one-third (34%) have favorable opinions. 

Navigator finds that voters feel almost as negatively about oil and gas companies as they do about pharmaceutical companies (34% favorable / 59% unfavorable), which is consistent with other polling: Gallup has similarly found that the pharmaceutical industry is the only major industry less popular than oil and gas

Importantly, while negativity toward the oil and gas industry is driven by Democrats (26% favorable / 65% unfavorable), Republicans aren’t inclined to defend the industry either and are instead split evenly in their opinions (46% favorable / 45% unfavorable).

Oil and gas companies continue to bear the most blame for high gas prices. When asked to rank the factors most responsible for current gas prices, voters are more likely to blame oil and gas companies than anybody or anything else. 

Below are the percentages who rank each of the following groups and causes as the most or second-most responsible for high gas prices:

Oil and gas companies incur blame for high gas prices from across the political spectrum: Democrats blame oil and gas companies more than any other cause, and Republicans blame them more than anybody or anything except for Biden and Democrats. 

Voters across party lines view the oil and gas industry as one of the country’s greediest. When asked to choose up to three industries that they believe are “most likely to be greedy and raise prices to make record profits,” voters place oil and gas companies at the top of the list:

Democrats and independents both rank oil and gas companies as the greediest, while Republicans rank them as the second-greediest industry (60%) after pharmaceutical and health insurance companies (67%).

With new federal funding becoming available, voters overwhelmingly say that they want clean energy or infrastructure projects in their area. Nearly four in five voters (78%) say that they approve of new clean energy or infrastructure projects being developed in their community after learning that “recently passed federal legislation will give communities across the country funding for new infrastructure development projects, such as renewable energy and public transportation.”

Democrats (92%) nearly universally support new clean energy or infrastructure projects in their areas, while large majorities of independents (78%) and Republicans (64%) also approve of these projects.

Voters widely support publicly owned infrastructure projects when they learn about them. Data for Progress finds that there is a lot of inherent appeal to publicly owned infrastructure projects, particularly in how they allow for democratic governance and community input on the types of benefits that projects will yield.

Their poll also finds that broad majorities support establishing more publicly owned infrastructure projects in the U.S. when they learn about examples of these types of projects, including:

Young voters trust Biden over Trump to handle climate change and the environment, though there is clear opportunity for Biden to extend this advantage. Voters under the age of 30 trust Biden by 16 points over Trump (58% Biden / 42% Trump) to protect the climate and environment. 

Of all the issues that Blueprint asked about in this youth voter poll, only protecting reproductive rights and reducing racial tension rank as clearer strengths for Biden than climate and the environment:

Still, there is a lot of room for President Biden to extend this advantage on climate change and the environment with young voters. 

Polls consistently show that young voters overwhelmingly support President Biden’s actions on climate change and the environment but have heard little about them. Communicating the basics of President Biden’s climate and environmental record therefore goes a long way to increasing his support from young voters

Floridians nearly universally recognize that climate change is happening. Nine in ten Floridians (90%) acknowledge that climate change is happening, including 58% who say that it is “largely caused by human activity.”

Most Floridians worry about a range of environmental problems, including damage to the state’s marine environment, water pollution, and extreme weather. Majorities of Floridians say that they are either “extremely” or “moderately” concerned about each of the following environmental threats:

Extreme weather is clearly a salient issue in Florida, as nearly half of Floridians say that they’ve been affected by heat waves (48%) in the past year, 37% say that they’ve been affected by hurricanes or tornadoes, and around one in four (23%) say that they’ve been impacted by flooding.

In stark contrast to their state’s leadership, Floridians clearly want to see climate action at the state level. More than two-thirds of Floridians (68%) agree that climate change has them “concerned about the well-being of future generations in Florida.”

Accordingly, the overwhelming majority of Floridians agree that the state government “should do more to address the impacts of climate change” (68% agree / 11% disagree) even as Governor Ron DeSantis pushes the state to ignore the reality of the problem

Solar is by far the most popular energy source in Florida. Consistent with national polling, Florida Atlantic University finds that Floridians support solar more than any other energy source. 

Around half (51%) choose solar when asked to pick the primary form of energy production that Florida should be supporting for the future, far more than any other energy source:

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