While all eyes have rightly turned to the immediate coronavirus crisis, North Carolinians still want action on the climate crisis too, according to a new state poll we commissioned from Public Policy Polling.
In fact, their desire that our federal leaders protect them from the worst long-term climate impacts is so strong (61%) that 56% of North Carolina voters want a response as serious as that we’re seeing for COVID-19. “The response measures will be different, but voters know the seriousness of the challenge is not,” said Dustin Ingalls, our Director of Strategic Communications.
The coronavirus pandemic is not unlike the climate crisis. Ingalls continued, “Like the climate crisis, it’s impacting low-income communities and communities of color first and worst. They are most exposed to air pollution which causes and exacerbates health issues like asthma, making them more vulnerable to the coronavirus. And like the climate crisis, the corona crisis has been made worse by a federal government which has defunded or eliminated response teams, rolled back regulations, ignored science and expert advice, treated it like a hoax, and jumped to action too late.”
Reflecting that, the poll shows voters differ in their evaluations of state Gov. Roy Cooper and U.S. Sen. Thom Tillis. Cooper enjoys a 51% overall approval rating, with only 34% disapproving. Tillis’ approval margin is almost the reverse of Cooper’s (31-47), and significantly worse than even President Trump’s (46-53).
Cooper’s coronavirus leadership is likely contributing to his positive reviews, but voters also approve by more than a two-to-one margin (66% to 28%) of his Clean Energy Plan, including even 42% of Republicans. That’s a lot more crossover support than on a lot of issues in this polarized era.
The fact voters already recognize Cooper’s climate leadership could be part of why the vast majority of voters (61%) put the onus for climate action on the federal government, as opposed to the state (14%) or local governments (9%). In fact, 55% of voters, including even 29% of Republicans, want the president and Tillis to develop a plan leading to 100% Clean Energy for All and net-zero carbon emissions by 2050, like Cooper’s plan.
“The poll clearly shows North Carolinians overwhelmingly support Gov. Roy Cooper’s clean energy plan, and want their federal leaders to respond in kind,” said Ingalls. “Voters recognize the health and economic benefits of regulating carbon emissions and moving from fossil fuels to renewable energy.”
Find the full poll results here (PDF). Then tell Tillis and Sen. Richard Burr to support the Senate Clean Economy Act to move the climate ball down the field.