Poll shows majority support for carbon controls, but partisan split persists

Despite the split, the findings suggest that, as a whole, GOP lawmakers oppose carbon emissions controls more than their constituents.

In April of 2011 the House voted 255-172 for legislation that would strip EPA’s power to regulate greenhouse gases. The bill drew support from 236 Republicans, and none voted against it.

The bill did not advance in the Senate.

Legislation to impose emissions curbs through a cap-and-trade program faces even bigger hurdles – climate legislation collapsed in the Senate in 2010 after narrowly passing the House, then controlled by Democrats, in 2009.

The Environmental Protection Agency has begun moving ahead with some climate regulations under its existing powers. The agency in late March proposed first-time national emissions standards for new power plants, but said it has no schedule for addressing existing plants.

EPA is also implementing carbon standards for new cars, but automakers essentially meet those standards by attaining jointly issued Transportation Department mileage rules.

Other environmental and energy policies also showed partisan divides in the latest Gallup survey.

Eighty-four percent of Democrats support spending more federal money to develop wind and solar power, compared to 51 percent of Republicans.

Overall, 65 percent of respondents support opening more federal land for oil exploration, an idea that drew support from 84 percent of Republicans and 49 percent of Democrats.

Similarly 64 percent of adults favor stronger enforcement of environmental regulations. Eighty percent of Democrats like the idea, compared to 47 percent of Republicans.

The poll reveals overall backing but similar divides over tougher emissions standards for automobiles — 62 percent support, with 49 percent of Republicans in support and 76 percent of Democrats — and federal spending to develop alternative auto fuels — 66 percent support overall, with 51 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Democrats in favor.

The survey of 1,024 adults has a margin of error of 4 percent.