IGS Poll: Californians Support Stronger Climate Change Rules

plant growing up through dry cracked land
September 2, 2015

By Kathleen Maclay | UC Berkeley Media Relations
kmaclay [at] berkeley.edu, (510) 643-5651

Californians support stronger efforts to fight climate change by requiring more electricity to come from renewable resources and cutting gasoline use in half, according to a new Institute of Governmental Studies poll released today.

The online survey, which questioned 1,062 Californians from Aug. 11-26, found clear partisan differences, with Democrats supportive of the regulations and Republicans opposed. Support was strongest among the young and tapered off among older age groups.

Respondents were asked about two key components of a proposal pending in the state Legislature – one requiring 50 percent of electricity to come from renewable resources by 2030 and the other mandating cutting the state’s use of gasoline in half by the same date. The question noted that such changes could cost consumers more.

Overall, 61 percent of respondents supported those requirements, while 39 percent were opposed. Majority support was also found among all income and education levels.

Partisan differences

Democrats strongly supported the proposal, 76-24 percent, while Republicans strongly opposed it, 65-35 percent. Independent voters were narrowly in favor, 53-47 percent.

“As with many issues, California’s proposed climate change regulations highlight stark partisan differences,” said Douglas Ahler, a doctoral candidate in political science and graduate fellow at IGS, who oversaw the poll.

The survey found that support for the proposals was strongest among 18- to 29-year- olds, at 75 percent, and then declined steadily as the age of respondents increased. Support was 70 percent among respondents in their 30s, 57 percent among those in their 40s, 50 percent among those aged 50 to 65, and 49 percent among those over 65.

“These findings suggest that over time, if today’s young people retain the same views and begin to constitute a larger and larger share of the adult population, support for strong climate change regulation could grow,” Ahler said.

A majority of all ethnic groups favored the proposal, although support was strongest among Latinos (71 percent), and weaker among African Americans (59 percent) and whites (57 percent).

Background

The poll was conducted for IGS by Survey Sampling International, using online questionnaires. The margin of error is 2.9 percent. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the statewide distribution of the California population by gender, race/ethnicity, education and age.

CONTACTS

Jack Citrin, IGS Director, gojack [at] berkeley.edu, (510) 642-4692

Douglas Ahler, political science Ph.D. candidate, dahler [at] berkeley.edu, (323) 719-0645

Ethan Rarick, IGS Associate Director, erarick [at] berkeley.edu, (510) 642-5158

 

Appendix

There is a proposal that California should do even more to fight climate change by requiring that 50 percent of electricity should come from renewable sources (like wind and solar) and the amount of gasoline should be cut in half by 2030, even if it costs consumers more.

 

Do you favor or oppose these proposed regulations?

 

Percent

Favor

61.0%

Oppose

39.0%

 

By Partisanship

 

Democrats

Independents

Republicans

Favor

76.5%

53.4%

34.7%

Oppose

23.5%

46.6%

65.3%

 

By Income

 

Less than $25,000

$25,000-$49,999

$50,000-$74,999

$75,000-$99,999

$100,000-$149,999

$150,000+

Favor

60.3%

62.3%

55.0%

62.9%

61.8%

62.8%

Oppose

39.7%

37.7%

45.0%

37.1%

38.2%

37.2%

By Age

 

Age 18-29

Age 30-39

Age 40-49

Age 50-65

Age 65+

Favor

75.5%

69.8%

57.1%

50.2%

48.8%

Oppose

24.5%

30.2%

42.9%

49.8%

51.2%

 

By Race/Ethnicity

 

Asian

Black

Latino

White

Favor

63.3%

59.1%

70.6%

57.1%

Oppose

36.7%

40.9%

29.4%

42.9%

 

By Education

 

Less than high school

High school degree or equivalent

Some college

Bachelor’s degree

Advanced degree

Favor

62.5%

62.3%

56.8%

61.8%

64.8%

Oppose

37.5%

37.7%

43.2%

38.2%

35.2%