Challenging industry assertions, voters reject economic arguments and support public health
Washington, D.C. (June 16, 2011)—
Americans across the country are overwhelmingly supportive of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the agency’s efforts to update standards for life-threatening air pollutants such as smog, according to new data released today from a nationwide, bipartisan survey conducted by the American Lung Association.
Central to the current debate in Congress, 75 percent of voters support the EPA setting stricter limits on smog, and a significant majority of voters reject the notion that stronger standards will impede economic recovery, with most believing that updated standards are likely to will create more jobs as a result of innovation and investment in new technologies.
Despite months of continued attacks on clean air protections from Members of Congress, in today’s results, 72 percent of voters do not want Congress to stop the EPA from setting stricter limits on smog. This is an increase from a similar Lung Association survey conducted in February 2011, in which 68 percent of voters opposed Congressional action that would impede EPA from updating clean air standards.
“Big corporate polluters and some in Congress are working to weaken the Clean Air Act and are appealing to the public by depicting a dire scenario should dirty energy companies be forced to clean up their act,” said Peter Iwanowicz, assistant vice president with the American Lung Association. “They claim that setting more protective standards for smog will harm the economy. As they do so, they ignore the overwhelming science that strong, achievable standards are a public health imperative that will benefit everyone and prevent thousands of premature deaths each year. It’s time the polluters and their Congressional allies listen to voters who overwhelmingly want the EPA to protect the air we breathe.”
Key poll findings include:
An overwhelming 75 percent of voters support EPA setting stricter limits on smog;
65 percent say that stricter standards on air pollution will not damage our economic recovery, with 54 percent believing that updates are likely to create more jobs, not less;
66 percent of voters think the EPA should set pollution standards, not Members of Congress;
Support for updating smog standards is widespread. Targeted polling among voters in Florida, Ohio, Michigan, Minnesota, Wisconsin, North Carolina and Virginia found support for the EPA setting stricter limits on air pollution ranging between 64-72 percent.
Despite the fact that certain big polluters continue to make an economic argument that stronger standards will lead to plant closures or other extreme measures, 65 percent of voters clearly reject the premise that stricter smog standards will hurt the economy or cost jobs.
“The poll shows a large, bipartisan majority of American voters support EPA efforts to place stricter limits on smog-causing pollution," said Hans Kaiser, Vice President of Campaign and Public Affairs, Moore Information. “Additionally, a majority of voters in every region believes that stricter smog standards would be more likely to create jobs by spurring innovation than they would be to hurt jobs because of increased costs."
“The survey clearly indicates that voters strongly trust the EPA to deal with clean air standards more than Congress – even after opponents have subjected it to strong attacks over the past several months,” said Michael Bocian, Principal at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “A bipartisan 66 percent majority believes that EPA scientists, rather than Congress, should set pollution standards. This is despite opposing language arguing that our elected representatives in Congress would do a better job than ‘unelected bureaucrats at the EPA’.”
The full survey, along with slides and a memo from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Moore Information found here.
Methodology: The survey was conducted by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner and Moore Information. Their firms conducted a national survey of 2,400 likely 2012 voters reached by both landline and cell phone, including oversamples of 400 likely voters each in the following four regions: Florida, Ohio/Michigan, Minnesota/Wisconsin, North Carolina/Virginia June 4-12, 2011. The margin of error for the full national sample is 3.7%. For half samples it is 4.9%. For each oversample region it is approximately 4.6% depending on sample size