New Polling Shows Support In Northwest For Limits On Greenhouse Gas Emissions

Jul 10, 2014

The survey was conducted for EarthFix by the independent and nonpartisan firm, DHM Research. A representative sampling of 1,200 residents of Washington, Idaho and Oregon participated and 62 percent of them said they consider it an urgent priority for state and local governments to address global warming.

A majority of respondents also registered support for specific proposals to reduce the emission of carbon that contributes to climate change.

"We asked questions on whether or not they would support making companies pay if they go over a certain amount of carbon emissions," explained John Horvick of DHM Research, "and across the region 75 percent said that yeah, they would support such a policy."

As a follow on to the announcement of a new federal rule from the Environmental Protection Agency that will limit carbon emissions from power plants, the survey respondents were asked if they support such a move.

"73 percent region-wide would support such a policy," Horvick said, adding that support was a little lower in Idaho - at 63 percent and a little higher in Washington - at 77 percent.

A new task force created this spring by Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will be drafting a plan to cut carbon emissions in the state. Inslee supports the institution of a cap-and-trade system to limit carbon emissions at the state level.

Krosnick and Stanford University Visiting Scholar Bo MacInnis combined the results of national surveys over the past decade of Americans’ opinions about climate change in 46 states. Here's what they found:

The vast majority of Americans acknowledge the science and believe that climate change has been happening. In every state surveyed, at least 75 percent of the population acknowledges the existence of climate change.

The majority of Americans believe that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. industry. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least two-thirds (67 percent) of the population believes that the government should limit greenhouse gas emissions from U.S. businesses.

The majority of Americans support action to cut greenhouse gas emissions from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks. In every state surveyed (for which there was adequate data), at least 62 percent of the population supports taking action to cut carbon pollution from power plants, including regulations or tax breaks.

Melody Godfrey participated in the EarthFix survey. She is a mother of five from Selah, Washington, who said she votes Republican. Godfrey said she supports the idea that polluters should pay for their greenhouse gas emissions.

"I would like to see more companies who are using up the energy, like gas companies, getting taxed and billed – like a fee," Godfrey said. However, she added, she also is worried that the costs will be passed on to consumers.

"It’s kind of a no-win, I really don’t have an answer for that. I don’t want to be charged more but I think something needs to be addressed," Godfrey said.

The DHM Research poll asked that portion of respondents who supported limiting greenhouse gases from power plants if they would back those limits even if that raised the price of their electricity. Of those, 71 percent continued to be supporters. In other words, 51 percent of total survey participants support limiting carbon emissions from power plants if it means their electrical rates will go up.

Godfrey said she would support a candidate who is willing to take steps to limit greenhouse gas emissions, if that candidate aligns with her other values.

"I think that if they have the same values and principles and things that I am looking for in a candidate and they would put a cap on that, I would still support them and vote for them."

The EarthFix survey was conducted from June 25-30. there was a margin of error of plus or minus 2.8 percent for the three-state regional results.

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