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Voters Support Stimulus for Clean Energy, Climate

Image of wind turbines surrounded by clouds: clean energy | Climate Nexus Polls
Nearly six in 10 support massive federal stimulus for climate-resilient infrastructure, clean energy
Almost six in 10 say Congress should pass legislation with or without Republican support
57% say clean investments will create more jobs than fossil fuel investments

A new poll released today finds American voters strongly support clean energy infrastructure investments to kickstart the economic recovery. The poll from Nexus Polling, the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication, and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication finds large majorities of voters support action on climate change as part of stimulus recovery packages and want their elected officials to support those policies as well. 

Almost six in 10 (59%) voters say they support multi-trillion-dollar economic stimulus legislation that prioritizes investments in clean energy infrastructure and technologies as part of the economic recovery effort, and 58% say Congress should pass the legislation whether Republicans vote for it or not. 

As part of that legislation, voters strongly support: assisting states and regions recovering from recent extreme weather and climate disasters (79%); reinforcing infrastructure to withstand the effects of climate change and extreme weather such as severe flooding and hurricanes (73%); building new power lines to transport renewable energy (70%); creating a jobs program for unemployed oil and gas workers to safely close abandoned oil and gas wells (69%); expanding public transportation such as high-speed rail, subway and light rail systems, and electric buses (67%); expanding tax credits and other incentives to expand renewable energy such as solar and wind (66%); offering tax incentives or rebates to homeowners, landlords, and businesses to switch from gas to electric appliances (65%); expand tax credits and rebates for consumers to purchase or lease electric vehicles (59%); building and expanding charging infrastructure for electric vehicles (59%); and funding a transition to all-electric buildings (55%).

“Americans know the fastest way to jumpstart our economy is to invest in the industries of the future while addressing climate change,” said Dr. Edward Maibach, Director of George Mason University’s Center for Climate Change Communication. “Investing in clean power and transportation, a modern energy grid, and all-electric buildings can power our recovery.” 

About two-thirds (66%) of voters also said they support government action to address climate change. Additionally, 61% support transitioning to a 100% clean economy for the transportation, electricity, buildings, industry, and agricultural sectors by 2050. And pluralities believe the transition will have a positive impact on job growth, energy bills, rural farming economies, and communities of color. 

Asked which would produce a greater number of good jobs for Americans — increasing domestic production of fossil fuels such as coal, oil, and natural gas or increasing domestic production of renewable energy such as wind and solar — voters said clean energy would produce more good jobs by a 10-point margin (46% to 36%).

Roughly seven in 10 voters (69%) say they support the recently enacted $1.9 trillion coronavirus relief legislation that included stimulus checks for individuals and families, expanded unemployment benefits, funding for vaccination programs, and assistance for state and local governments. And 71% say knowing almost every Republican voted against the legislation either made them more supportive (35%) or didn’t matter either way (36%). 

Survey respondents were shown two competing statements about how government action to address climate change will impact the economy and jobs. Fifty-seven percent of voters said they agreed more with the statement saying climate action would encourage private sector innovation, create high-paying jobs, and position America to compete in a world economy that increasingly runs on clean energy and technologies. Just 43% chose the statement saying climate action would raise energy prices, slow economic growth, cost jobs, and sacrifice America’s competitive advantage as one of the world’s leading producers of coal, oil, and natural gas.

“Americans support bold, ambitious government action to solve the interconnected crises of COVID-19, restarting the economy, rebuilding America, addressing structural racism, and limiting climate change,”said ​Dr. ​Anthony Leiserowitz, Director of ​the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication. “Voters want their elected representatives to use this moment of crisis to invest in building a clean, safer, and more equitable future for all Americans.”

For more detail on the poll results, please see the poll toplines.

To assess voters’ attitudes toward various climate policies, as well as their experiences with impacts of climate change, Climate Nexus, in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication, conducted a representative survey March 17-22, 2021, of 1,310 registered voters in the United States. The margin of error for this survey is +/- 2.8% at the 95% confidence level.