Energy & Environment

Progressive pollster: 65 percent of likely voters would back polluters tax


American voters are broadly supportive of proposals to tax major fossil fuel companies for the costs of climate change, according to polling from the left-leaning firm Data for Progress.

A survey of likely voters found that 77 percent believe fossil fuel companies have “a lot” or “some” responsibility to address climate change, including 86 percent of Democratic respondents, 66 percent of Republicans and 75 percent of independents.

When pollsters described a proposal to levy a $500 billion fee against major creators of emissions like Exxon, BP, Shell and Chevron, respondents “strongly” or “somewhat” supported such a measure, 65 percent to 25 percent. This included 83 percent of Democrats and 65 percent of independents in support.

Republicans were statistically split on the issue, with 43 percent in favor and 42 percent opposed. Republicans were also most likely to say they didn’t know whether they would back such a proposal, with 15 percent of respondents selecting that option.

Data for Progress also surveyed respondents about the importance of polluters compensating low-income and minority communities, which have been disproportionately affected by both the existing and projected impacts of climate change. Sixty-one percent of likely voters called this a “somewhat” or “very” important priority, including 80 percent of Democrats, 57 percent of Democrats and 41 percent of Republicans.

The survey comes in the wake of Sen. Chris Van Hollen’s (D-Md.) introduction earlier this month of legislation with similar provisions. Van Hollen’s Polluters Pay Climate Fund Act would tax 25 to 30 major emitters $300 billion over a 10-year period. Companies would be required to pay into the fund if they were the source of at least 0.05 percent of global carbon and methane emissions between 2000 and 2019.

“What we’re proposing today is a simple but powerful idea, it’s the idea that polluters should pay for the messes they cause … and those that pollute the most should pay the most,” Van Hollen said earlier this month.

Pollsters surveyed 1,169 likely voters between July 16-19. The survey has a three-point margin of error.

Tags Chris Van Hollen Climate change policy polluter tax Pollution Public opinion Tax
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