Prominent GOP pollster Frank Luntz is warning Republican lawmakers that the public's views on climate change are shifting and that ignoring the issue could cost them important votes at the ballot box.
In a memo circulated to Republican congressional offices on Wednesday, Luntz Global Partners warned that 58 percent of Americans, as well as 58 percent of GOP voters under the age of 40, are more concerned about climate change than they were just one year ago.
The polling group also noted that 69 percent of GOP voters are concerned that the party's stance on climate change is “hurting itself with younger votes.”
Of the GOP voters under the age of 40, more than half, or 55 percent, said they are "very or extremely" concerned about their party’s position on climate change.
“Climate Change is a GOP VULNERABILITY and a GOP OPPORTUNITY,” read a copy of the memo obtained by The Hill. “Yes, Republican voters want a solution. It is on measures of salience to vote that we have detected the greatest change.”
“The appetite for seeing real action is palpable to voters of both sides,” the memo states.
Referring to a listening session with likely voters, the memo said many are angered that GOP leadership “ceded the issue to the Dems.”
“Typically, the most effective campaign approach is to build-out from the base. ... Not here; there’s simply too much recognition that the politicking has blocked Progress,” the group said in the memo.
Luntz Global conducted the online poll of 1,000 voters on behalf of the Climate Leadership Council, which is promoting its own carbon tax and dividend plan. The survey found that GOP voters supported the plan by a 2-1 margin.
Fifty-three percent of Republicans surveyed said they would be more likely to support a candidate who supported a plan that included a carbon tax.
The memo said a carbon-fee plan would sit “in stark contrast” to the Green New Deal, a progressive climate action plan embraced by the majority of Democratic presidential candidates.
Most Republicans are opposed to the idea of a carbon tax, which would likely increase costs for fossil fuel producers. Critics like Americans for Tax Reform argue that the costs would ultimately be passed on to households and that government involvement unfairly tips the scales to the renewable energy industry.
However, several business groups have recently called on the federal government to regulate emissions through a carbon tax. The CEOs of 75 major companies, including Exxon Mobil and BP, visited Capitol Hill earlier this month to lobby Republicans to embrace a carbon tax.
The survey conducted by Luntz Global Partners has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points, with higher margins for subgroups.