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  • bluecheese4u bluecheese4u Feb 21, 2013 10:16 AM Flag

    Poll: Climate change a priority, but GOP, Dems split on renewables, emissions

    Poll: Climate change a priority, but GOP, Dems split on renewables, emissions

    By Zack Colman - 02/21/13 09:32 AM ET

    Climate change ranked as Americans’ fourth-most urgent priority — after the federal deficit, guns and immigration — though Republicans were more resistant to President Obama's approach on the topic, according to a USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll released Thursday.
    Of the 1,504 adults surveyed, 34 percent called taking action on climate change “essential this year." Thirty-nine percent said climate change needs to be addressed in the next few years, 19 percent said nothing should be done and 8 percent had no opinion.
    The survey polled 470 Democrats, 366 Republicans and 604 independents. They collectively gave Obama a 51 percent approval rating, while 41 percent disapproved of his performance.
    Of the four policy issues surveyed, respondents believed Obama had the most significant upper hand on the GOP regarding climate change.
    But the Republicans polled rejected two major options for mitigating climate change. Nearly half opposed setting stronger power plant emissions limits, while one-third backed using more renewable energy compared with 54 percent who want to expand oil-and-gas production.
    Still, the Republicans surveyed were in the minority on climate change.
    Overall, respondents gave Obama a 21-point advantage on congressional Republicans for handling climate change. Forty-seven percent favored the president’s outlook to 26 percent preferring the GOP approach.
    Sixty-two percent of respondents said Obama should forge ahead with stricter emissions limits on power plants, compared with 28 percent that opposed the idea.
    That aligns the respondents with the sentiment of many green groups on emissions. Those organizations want the White House to roll out emissions rules for existing power plants to build on proposed rules for new plants issued during Obama’s first term.
    Congressional Republicans, meanwhile, have tried to stymie such regulations, suggesting they would injure a limping economy.
    But the survey respondents considered congressional Republicans' preference for expanding oil-and-gas development less desirable than building out renewable energy.
    Fifty-four percent said the United States should use more renewable sources for energy, compared with 34 percent who wanted to develop more oil and gas.
    That did not hold true for Republicans.
    For Republicans, 33 percent prioritize alternative energy sources to the 54 percent who want to boost oil-and-gas production.
    And while a majority of respondents wanted stricter emissions, the numbers were different for Republicans — 42 percent want tougher limits, while 48 percent reject them.
    Age groups also told different stories about the desired path forward on reducing emissions.
    The older respondents were, the less likely they were to support developing wind, solar and other sources of renewable energy — and the more likely they were to approve of expanding oil-and-gas production.
    In the 18- to 29-year-old age group, 71 percent favored boosting renewable energy.
    Those numbers fell to 57 percent for the 30- to 49-year-old group, 48 percent for the 50- to 64-year-old category and 47 percent for those who were at least 65 years old.
    The youngest cluster also was the least supportive of using more oil and gas, clocking in at 24 percent promoting that path. Respondents who were at least 65 years old were most supportive of that idea, with 44 percent hoping to go that route.
    The youngest age category also was most likely to back stronger emissions standards, with 70 percent doing so.
    That figure dropped to 64 percent for the next age group, 56 percent for the 50- to 64-year-old cluster and 57 percent for the oldest respondents.
    The USA TODAY/Pew Research Center poll was conducted through telephone interviews — half by landline, half by cell phone. It carried a 2.9 percent margin of error.


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