Two polls released last week show that Wisconsinites have seemingly diverging views on whether to address climate change. However, when the two polls are closely analyzed, it appears that there isn’t any discrepancy – people support actions that reduce climate change as long as it doesn’t cost a lot of money or jobs.
The first poll, performed by the Public Opinion Strategies on behalf of the Wisconsin Manufacturers & Commerce, found that a vast majority of the public believes that solving global warming is not the state’s job if it means it will hit their pocketbooks. Not surprisingly, 37 percent of those polled said that the economy and jobs are the number one issue – one percent cited climate change as the top policy issue.
Other findings from the poll include:
- 62 percent of voters said they believe global warming is not Wisconsin’s problem to solve; 27 percent say it’s a crisis that Wisconsin should address.
- 68 percent of voters oppose increased renewable energy mandates when told of increased costs on their electric bill.
- Voters are unwilling to pay as little as $25 a month to pay for policies aimed at curbing greenhouse gas emissions by a 3-to-1 margin: 55 percent to 17 percent.
- 72 percent oppose restrictions on Canadian crude oil that would drive up gasoline prices.
- 73 percent oppose paying increased fees on utility bills to pay for energy efficiency programs for low-income families and businesses.
More information about the poll can be found here.
The second poll was released by the Mellman Group on behalf of the Forest County Potawatomi (Potawatomi), which favors environmental regulations that would reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. The Potawatomi poll found that Wisconsinites overwhelmingly favor regulations that would reduce GHG emissions.
Why the apparent discrepancy between the two polls? The polls find nearly identical numbers when it comes to those who think the state should take action to reduce GHG emissions. However, the WMC poll asks a second question: whether people support such laws if it means higher energy costs and fewer jobs. In response, people overwhelming oppose such regulations.
It appears that most Wisconsinites are willing to reduce GHG emissions, but not if it hits their wallet or costs them their job.