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National Voter Poll on Water

Girls Drinking_water_from_pipe | Climate Nexus Polling

This year is shaping up to be a seminal one on water. State and federal officials are working to implement the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act that included $55 billion for drinking and wastewater infrastructure, the single largest investment in history. It also marks the 50th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, and a key opportunity to curb water pollution, as lawmakers negotiate priorities for the five-year Farm Bill that will be reauthorized in 2023. To understand the concerns that are top of mind for voters, the Water Hub at Climate Nexus partnered with Climate Nexus Polling, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication on a national poll. We included questions about infrastructure spending, the Clean Water Act, the Farm Bill, drought response, water bill assistance, and more. Below, we share key takeaways.

  • Nearly 9 in 10 voters (89%) agree that access to safe, affordable water is a human right
  • Three-quarters (75%) of voters support creating a permanent federal program to help low-income families pay their water bills
  • By more than a four-to-one margin, voters would prefer their drinking water system be owned by a public utility (58%) rather than a private company (13%)
  • 81% of voters say it is very important that infrastructure investments deliver safe drinking water
  • 59% of voters say the government should prioritize communities with the greatest need for infrastructure spending, rather than distributing funds equally (41%)
  • While only about a third (36%) of voters know much about the Clean Water Act, 96% say it’s important that rivers, lakes and streams be safe for fish and wildlife, and 89% for drinking
  • Voters say the most important goals of US farming policy are public health, environmental health, and keeping store shelves stocked
  • 84% of voters across the country are somewhat or very concerned about drought in the Western U.S.
    • More than half say drought will have a large effect on wildfires (68%), food prices (58%) and fish and wildlife (54%)
    • When asked about drought responses, water efficiency (76%) and reuse and recycling (59%) received far more support than desalinating seawater (22%) or building new dams and reservoirs (16%)