Brief

Never heard of the Clean Power Plan? You're not alone.

Dive Brief:

  • A national poll released this week by a group called Voice of the People revealed 70% of Americans have never heard of the Clean Power Plan, but most do believe restricting greenhouse gases should be a high priority, ClimateWire reports. 
  • A new Texas poll returned similar results; released by the Texas Clean Energy Coalition (TCEC), it found 85% of respondents did not know about the law.
  • After being briefed on the law and its goals and impacts, about 69% of respondents said they supported the emissions restrictions: 89% of Democrats supported the rule, while just under half of Republicans did.

Dive Insight:

The Clean Power Plan might seem like baseline policy knowledge to energy wonks and political insiders, but new surveys nationally and in Texas show just how insulated the sector is. 

Two recent polls show that most Americans haven't heard of the Clean Power Plan, though most support its goals once explained. But that support breaks down along party lines, and hinges somewhat on where you live.

"In states whose governments are challenging the CPP before the Supreme Court, two thirds support the CPP— just a slightly lower margin than for the rest of the country," the  Voice of the People poll revealed. "Among respondents who are in, or have a family member in, the coal industry, six in ten support the CPP — also a bit lower than the rest of the country."

In the TCEC poll, just 1 in 7 Texas voters, or about 14%, "have seen, read or heard anything about the federal Clean Power Plan." Almost 90% of Texas Democrats supported the plan, once broadly explained; 65% of independents supported it as well, although almost two-thirds of Republicans opposed it.

"When provided contrasting viewpoints on why the plan is a good or bad idea, Republican opposition hardens further, with 79 percent saying it’s a bad idea," the survey found. More than 53% of independents turn negative as well.

On the other hand, 85% of Texas voters believe the state should develop a plan of its own to increase clean energy, regardless of the outcome of the Clean Power Plan's court battle.

“While Texas GOP voters are allergic to any perceived federal overreach on energy policy, they strongly support clean energy action at the state level, especially policies that give consumers more freedom,” Michael Baselice, president of Austin-based Baselice & Associates, said in a statement. The firm conducted the poll.

The national poll was conducted by the Program for Public Consultation (PPC) at the University of Maryland's School of Public Policy.

As for the lack of national recognition of the plan, PPC director Steven Kull told ClimateWire "it's sort of blandly titled ... I don't think the reporting on it has been very extensive. It hasn't gotten into the elections, and so I don't find it so surprising."

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Filed Under: Regulation & Policy