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 poll from UC Berkeley’s Institute of Governmental Studies (IGS).
The online survey, which questioned 1,062 Californians from Aug. 11-26 and was released today, found clear partisan differences, with Democrats supportive of the regulations and Republicans opposed. Support was strongest among the young and tapered off among older people.
Respondents were asked about two key components of a proposal pending in the state Legislature. One would require that 50 percent of electricity used in California come from renewable resources by 2030. The other would mandate cutting gasoline use in the state 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 found among all income and education levels.
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 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; support was strongest among Latinos (71 percent), and weaker among African Americans (59 percent) and whites (57 percent).
The poll was conducted for IGS by Survey Sampling International. The margin of error is 2.9 percentage points. Responses for the entire sample were weighted to reflect the statewide distribution of the California population by gender, race/ethnicity, education and age. The polling data can be viewed on the IGS website.