Front Porch Blog

In Wake of Shutdown, Polls Point to Congress’s Unpopularity and Public Support of EPA

Recent polls reveal the unpopularity of Congress, and North Carolinians' and Virginians' support for environmental protection.

Recent polls reveal the unpopularity of Congress, and North Carolinians’ and Virginians’ support for environmental protection.

Two recent polls reveal that North Carolinians and Virginians strongly approve of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s plans to regulate carbon emissions from new power plants and the agency’s role in protecting clean air and water for all Americans.

According to a Public Policy Polling survey of 803 North Carolinians commissioned by the Natural Resources Defense Council, roughly seven in ten residents say they oppose efforts to delay EPA’s work to cut carbon pollution, protect the environment and public health. So it should not come as a surprise that a majority of North Carolinians hold an unfavorable view of elected officials who suggest the EPA is overreaching or even unnecessary.

Overall, 65 percent of North Carolinians say the EPA is either not doing enough or is doing the right amount to meet its responsibilities. Only 28 percent of respondents say the EPA is doing too much.

With an emphasis on how the government shutdown affected environmental protection, 76 percent opposed preventing the EPA from cleaning up hazardous waste sites during the shutdown, and 72 percent opposed delaying the agency’s work on developing carbon limits.

On the other hand, when asked if they approved of the job Congress is doing, 84 percent of respondents disapproved, 11 percent approved and 5 percent say they were not sure. And when asked if they would feel more favorable or less favorable about an elected official who says it’s a good thing for the EPA to be closed, three-quarters say they would feel less favorable.

We know that Congress is less popular than lice, root canals and used car salesmen, so it’s beyond safe to say it is less popular than the agency tasked with protecting the air, water and our health.

In Virginia, another Public Policy Polling survey, this time commissioned by POLITICO, found that efforts to demonize the EPA won’t go a long way. Of the 1,150 likely voters surveyed, 45 percent of likely voters support new EPA climate regulations for coal-fired power plants. Thirty-three percent of likely voters say they oppose the regulations and 22 percent aren’t sure.

Reforming energy policy in an effort to avert the worst impacts of climate change has become a major issue in Virginia’s gubernatorial race. Democratic candidate Terry McAuliffe came out in favor of the proposed EPA rule. Ken Cuccinelli, the Republican candidate who is infamous for waging a yearslong witch hunt against climatologist Michael Mann, opposes the Obama administration’s climate action plan and seems to prefer latching onto the widespread “war on coal” rhetoric to realistically addressing Virginians’ concerns about climate change, environmental degradation and public health.





Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Leave a Comment