WASHINGTON—Environmental organizations fearful of being blamed for Tuesday's devastating Democratic losses trotted out a poll they say shows support for cap-and-trade legislation did not contribute significantly to the defeat of House incumbents.
Those findings come from a survey of 1,000 voters who actually cast ballots in 83 battleground House districts nationwide. Washington, D.C.-based Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research conducted the poll Nov. 1 and 2.
When voters who chose the Republican candidate were asked to name their biggest concern about the Democrat, only 1 percent cited an answer related to energy or cap and trade. When offered a list of six arguments that Republicans made against Democrats, 7 percent selected what the GOP mislabeled a "cap and tax."
"There was no mandate on turning back the clock on environmental protection," said Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the Natural Resources Defense Council Action Fund. "Polls galore show continued and strong public support for making continued progress to protect our health and boost our economy."
The research firm defined battleground congressional districts as those that the nonpartisan and independent Cook Political Report or the Rothenberg Political Report labeled as a toss-up, a tilt or a lean. Researchers excluded districts where neither candidate voted on the American Clean Energy and Security Act.
Another key finding of the poll was that battleground voters trusted the Democrat more than the Republican on energy issues, despite a Republican-leaning electorate. As well, 55 percent of those polled supported a comprehensive energy bill that charges energy companies for carbon emissions but also would limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to develop clean energy. Some 38 percent opposed that reform.
By a 22 percent margin, battleground voters supported the idea of the Environmental Protection Agency tackling global warming by regulating carbon emissions from power plants, vehicles, factories and other sources. The poll showed 58 percent supported the EPA taking such initiative and 36 opposed the idea.
Finally, by a 41 percent margin, voters said that corporations should be held accountable for their pollution. Some 68 agreed, while 27 percent said new regulations that will hurt businesses should not be imposed.
"As sure as the sun rises in the East, America is going to continue moving forward on the clean energy economy and strong environmental protection," said Anna Aurilio, director of Environment America's Washington office, about the poll's results. "The next Congress will have to decide if it is going to be responsive to science, innovation and public support or if it will simply focus on payback to Big Oil and the polluter lobby that funded so many of its campaigns."