Jan 20, 2021 - Energy & Environment

Voters favor Biden's climate policies, but few view issue as top priority

Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals
Data: Morning Consult; Chart: Axios Visuals

Several new polls help to show where the public's at on energy and climate as Biden takes office.

Why it matters: People tend to favor emissions-cutting and low-carbon energy initiatives, but it's hardly top of mind.

Driving the news: A new Morning Consult poll showed registered voters' support Biden taking steps including...

  • Rejoining the Paris deal (56% support vs. 25% in opposition).
  • Requiring public companies to disclose emissions and climate risk info (63% support vs. 19% in opposition).
  • Imposing methane emissions limits on oil-and-gas operations (55% support vs. 23% in opposition).
  • Big public investments in electric vehicle charging (54% support vs. 24% in opposition).

Separately, the New York Times reports on post-election polling from Yale and George Mason universities.

  • "66 percent said that developing sources of clean energy should be a high or very high priority," the NYT reports.
  • Eight in 10 people back tax breaks for people who buy solar panels or electric cars.
  • The same share back a program that would hire out-of-work coal miners to shut down old mines safely and restore the landscape.

But, but, but: Climate and energy policy are not at the top of poll respondents' list of concerns and interests. The chart above shows Morning Consult findings there.

  • New Associated Press polling shows that 68% of adults named the economy as one of the top five things they want the government to work on.
  • In the open-ended questioning, 24% listed climate change — well behind health care and the pandemic.
  • CBS News polling released Saturday found that 4% of adults said climate should be Biden's top priority.
  • They were given a menu that also included the economy, the pandemic, political divisions, health care, race relations and illegal immigration.

Quick take: With economic concerns paramount, look for Biden officials to keep promoting their agenda as a way to create jobs in low-carbon sectors.

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