Jun 8, 2020 - Politics & Policy

A climate opening for Joe Biden

Reproduced from Data for Progress; Note: ±2.2% margin of error; Chart: Axios Visuals

Voters trust Democrats to address climate change and clean energy far more than Republicans, and there's majority support for multitrillion-dollar investments to massively expand emissions-free fuels, new polling shows.

What they found: The survey from the lefty think tank Data for Progress shows an advantage for Democrats on those topics that's far outside the margin of error, compared to the more even split on jobs and the economy.

What they're saying: "[C]limate change presents especially favorable terrain upon which the Democratic Party can engage their Republican counterparts," a memo alongside the wide-ranging survey argues.

One level deeper: One of the other questions gauged support for something that resembles Joe Biden's existing plan (but with a more aggressive timeline).

It offers two statements about a $5 trillion plan to move the U.S. to "100% clean energy" by 2040.

  • One says the plan is "worth the cost" due to health protections, job creation, and economic damage prevention. It adds that ending "giveaways" to fossil fuel companies would help to defray costs.
  • The other says it's not worth forcing taxpayers to shoulder trillions of dollars in costs and that it would kill lots of oil-and-gas jobs, drive up energy costs, and worsen debt.

The result: 58% of likely voters backed the $5 trillion plan while 42% opposed it. Among Democrats, support was 76%, while it was 59% among independents and 32% among likely GOP voters.

The intrigue: Another takeaway is that various climate commitments would make younger voters more likely to back Biden without bleeding support among older ones.

  • "[C]limate represents an opportunity for Biden to gain support from voters under forty-five while not losing support from voters over forty-five," it states.

Of note: The overall survey of likely voters has a ±2.2% margin of error, but for questions broken down by party affiliation it's 4% for Democrats and 4.2% for Republicans.

Go deeper