Comedian Seth Meyers hosts the NRDC’s 13th Annual ‘Forces For Nature’ Benefit at American Museum of Natural History on November 14, 2011 in New York City.
A majority of undecided voters in eight U.S. swing states favor policies that reduce carbon and mercury pollution and promote higher fuel efficiency standards and tax breaks for wind power, suggesting a clear advantage for President Obama among that section of the electorate ahead of the presidential election, according to a new opinion poll.
The poll for NRDC Action Fund, the advocacy arm of the Natural Resources Defense Council, found that undecided voters back President Obama’s position of supporting an EPA-led reduction in carbon emissions by a two-to-one margin over Republican challenger Mitt Romney’s policy that such limits would be bad for business.
The survey of 2,158 undecided voters found 54 percent will support the candidate who says he will reduce carbon pollution; 60 percent back cuts in mercury pollution as well as higher fuel-efficiency standards, and 53 percent favor tax incentives for wind power, according to the poll, released on Sept. 27.
Among all likely voters – some 22,000 were polled in total – 57 percent said they favored President Obama’s policies on carbon emissions, against 32 percent who support Romney’s position on the issue.
Voters are not lining up to cast their vote for the dirty-energy candidate despite heavy spending,” – Taylor-Miesle, NRDC Action Fund
“Undecided voters are clearly open to a direct appeal on clean air and clean energy,” said Tom Jensen, director of Public Policy Polling, which conducted the survey, during a conference call with reporters. “Mitt Romney’s views are at odds with the centrist voters that he needs.”
Although the economy is still the biggest election issue for most voters, the undecided minority are weighing other topics such as energy that might be important in their decision, Jensen said.
A spokeswoman for Harold Hamm, Romney’s chief energy advisor, did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the poll.
Heather Taylor-Miesle, director of the NRDC Action Fund, said the survey, conducted from Sept. 14-20, indicates that heavy ad spending by fossil-fuel industries to back the Romney campaign has failed to persuade most voters to stick with the status quo.
“Voters are not lining up to cast their vote for the dirty-energy candidate despite heavy spending,” she said. “The reality on the ground in these crucial swing states is that likely voters are not buying what the polluters are selling.”
Among undecided voters pressed to make a choice between the candidates, 32 percent said they would vote for Romney and 20 percent were for Obama, while 49 percent were still unable to decide, the poll found.
In the key battleground state of Ohio, the survey found almost twice as many undecided voters are in favor of EPA standards to control carbon pollution, as are opposed to them. Among all likely Ohio voters, 53 percent favor EPA limits on carbon emissions, well ahead of the 38 percent who oppose them.
In Florida, the margins on the same question were similar to those in Ohio, while in Pennsylvania, 74 percent of undecided voters said they favor a disclosure of fracking chemicals used by the state’s booming natural gas industry, against only 14 percent who were opposed to such a policy.
The other swing states in the survey were Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Signs of growing popular support for clean energy also emerge in another survey showing 89 percent of respondents believe renewables should be a bigger part of U.S. energy supply in future.
That survey, released by the solar company Sungevity on Sept. 26, found that 80 percent of respondents expect elected officials to support solar energy initiatives, and 81 percent said state and federal buildings should use solar energy.
This article kicks off Breaking Energy’s 2012 presidential debate coverage, read a companion piece here.