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A new Emerson College poll suggests that the wording around carbon pricing — whether voters support a carbon "tax" versus a carbon "fine on corporations" — could matter a lot.

Why it matters: Several 2020 White House hopefuls — including Joe Biden and Elizabeth Warren — have endorsed some kind of pricing, though details are scarce.

What they found: Emerson polled slightly over 1,000 voters on Sept. 21–23.

  • The question: "Would you support or oppose a carbon tax?" The answer: 35% supported it, 27% opposed and 38% percent were unsure. (Margin of error is 4.9%.)
  • The question, posed to the other half of the group: "Would you support or oppose a fine on corporations that pollute the air with carbon dioxide?” The answer: 52% supported it, 25% opposed and 24% were unsure. (MOE is 4.3%.)

But, but, but: The level of public support for a given policy is just loosely related to its chances of advancement.

  • Needless to say, there are all kinds of detailed policy design questions beyond the scope of these 30,000-foot level questions.
  • But generally speaking, a fine on companies would probably seep through into their prices.

Go deeper: Carbon tax campaign unveils new details and backers

Editor's note: This story has been clarified to reflect that, when asked about a "carbon tax," 35% of voters polled by Emerson supported the measure and 27% opposed it.

Go deeper

Bryan Walsh, author of Future
2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Axios AM Deep Dive: America’s murder surge

Photo illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios. Photo: Erik McGregor/LightRocket via Getty Images

Homicides rose at the fastest rate in at least six decades last year. This Axios AM Deep Dive, led by Future correspondent Bryan Walsh, looks at the state of gun crime.

6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Senate Democrats target billionaires

Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

After failing to get a deal on other planned tax increases, key Senate Democrats are pivoting to a billionaires' income tax to pay for President Biden's social spending.

The big picture: No advanced economy has attempted anything similar on such a scale.

Anti-abortion activists' Supreme Court dreams are coming true

Photo illustration: Annelise Capossela. Photos: Kevin Dietsch/Getty Images

This is the moment the conservative legal movement has been building toward for decades: The solidly conservative Supreme Court is about to hear two major abortion cases within a month of each other.

Why it matters: All of this is likely to end with significant new restrictions on abortion and a clear path for Republican-led states to win the next big abortion cases, too — the culmination of a long and bitter fight for control of the judiciary.