Democratic voters might be more progressive on climate change than conventional wisdom would suggest.
Democratic primary voters much prefer the more ambitious plans to fight climate change proposed by Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Washington Gov. Jay Inslee over former Vice President Joe Biden‘s relatively less aggressive proposal, according to new INSIDER polling.
A plurality — 42% — of Democratic voters said they prefer a plan that aims to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 by any means necessary. About 15% of likely Republican primary voters said the same. These preferences most closely resemble Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s Green New Deal resolution, which calls for “net-zero greenhouse gas emissions” through a decade-long “national mobilization” that would likely come at huge public expense.
Just 23% of Democrats said they preferred the plan by Inslee, who is running for president, to invest $3 trillion over 10 years to get a net-zero carbon emissions energy grid by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions altogether by 2045. Inslee’s proposal is the most far-reaching in the 2020 presidential field, and the most amenable option for Democratic primary voters preferring a more ambitious plan than that put forward by Biden.
A significantly smaller portion of Democrats — 14% — said they favored Biden’s plan, which would invest $1.7 trillion over 10 years to get net-zero carbon emissions no later than 2050.
Republican primary voters were fairly evenly split between the three proposals, with slightly more preferring the two more ambitious options over Biden’s less aggressive plan. But a plurality of Republicans — 35% — said they don’t think the US should change its current policy; under President Trump the US has pulled out of the Paris Climate Accord and worked aggressively to undermine policies to address climate change.
Overall, Americans preferred the most ambitious climate plan over Biden’s plan by 16 points.
INSIDER asked 1,079 U.S. adults, “Out of the following options, which response to climate change would you prefer?”
- 29% of respondents preferred a plan to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2030 “by any means necessary,” which is more ambitious than Inslee’s plan.
- 19% of respondents preferred Inslee’s plan to invest $3 trillion over 10 years to get a net-zero carbon emissions energy grid by 2030 and net-zero carbon emissions altogether by 2045.
- 13% of respondents preferred former Vice President Joe Biden’s plan to invest $1.7 trillion over 10 years to achieve net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.
- 17% of respondents said they didn’t believe the US needs to change current policy.
- 23% of respondents said they didn’t know which plan they preferred.
SurveyMonkey Audience polls from a national sample balanced by census data of age and gender. Respondents are incentivized to complete surveys through charitable contributions. Generally speaking, digital polling tends to skew toward people with access to the internet. SurveyMonkey Audience doesn’t try to weight its sample based on race or income. Total 1,126 respondents collected June 7 to June 8 2019, a margin of error plus or minus 3.07 percentage points with a 95% confidence level.
Grace Panetta contributed to this report.