Polls: Obama's Ozone Retreat Disappoints Latino and Suburban Women

When President Obama decided to block new public health standards for ozone and smog, NRDC was pretty disappointed.

Turns out we weren’t the only ones. National and battleground state polling released today by NRDC, the League of Women Voters (LWV) and the League of United Latin American Citizens (LULAC) finds that President Obama’s decision to block stronger smog protections puts him significantly out of step with Americans, including Latino and suburban women.

Among the national poll’s major findings:

  • Nationwide, 70 percent of Americans disapproved of Obama’s decision to block the ozone pollution standard while only 30 percent approved.  Roughly eight out of 10 women (79 percent) overall and 71 percent of Latino women disapproved of Obama’s decision on ozone.
  • Nearly four out of five Americans (78 percent) want the EPA to hold corporate polluters accountable for what they release into the community.  Better than four out five women (83 percent) and 80 percent of Latino women share this view.

Commenting on the findings, the League of United Latin American Citizens' Executive Director Brent A. Wilkes said

“Delaying clean air standards endangers Latino communities across the country. This poll shows how disappointed the Latino community is with President Obama and Congress when it comes to cleaning up our air."

Americans don’t buy the line from some in Congress that EPA safeguards are bad for jobs and the economy and they support stricter safeguards against the toxic chemicals released by power plants. Women and Latino women particularly want stronger protections from toxic air and carbon pollution.

  • Roughly seven out of 10  Americans (69 percent) agree with health experts who support reducing toxic air pollution from industrial sources and oppose those in Congress who say they must overrule the EPA to protect jobs;  three out of four women overall and 73 percent of Latino women agree with health experts.
  • Seven out of 10 support the EPA requiring stricter limits on the amount of toxic chemicals that industrial facilities can release and 69 percent are in favor of the EPA limiting the amount of carbon pollution that power plants and industrial facilities can release. Among women overall, 77 percent support stronger toxics limits and 78 percent support limiting carbon pollution; 76 percent and 77 percent of Latino women support those limits, respectively.

League of Women Voters President Elisabeth McNamara pulled no punches, saying:

"Americans clearly are very displeased that politicians are interfering with EPA scientists.  It’s wrong to play politics with the health of our children and seniors. From the president’s decision to delay smog pollution standards to the Congress’s attempts to block EPA action on everything from mercury to soot to carbon, the voting public is fed up with politicians second guessing the science."

Suburban women in Michigan, Pennsylvania and Ohio express even stronger support for the EPA and tougher pollution limits for toxics and carbon, and against political interference with health expert recommendations.

  • For example, in Ohio, 86% of suburban women agree that EPA should protect our air and water and hold corporate polluters accountable.
  • In Michigan, 79% of suburban women think that President Obama should have sided with health experts who wanted stronger smog protections, rather siding with polluters by blocking the stronger standards.
  • In Pennsylvania, 83% of suburban women support limiting carbon pollution.

Independent respondents also expressed strong support for the EPA’s mission and efforts to reduce pollution, and disagree with those who would block the EPA.  More than three out of four  (77 percent) support the EPA’s efforts to hold polluters accountable and 68 percent say the President should not have blocked stronger smog standards and that Congress should not block stronger limits on toxic air pollution.

You can get the press release here. For highlights, sample size and margins of error for each poll: National results, California, Colorado, Florida, Michigan, Nevada, New Mexico, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

The polls, conducted between October 6-9, 2011  by Public Policy Polling (PPP), surveyed 1,249 registered voters nationwide (as well as a national oversample of 200 Latino women); and surveyed voters in nine 2012 battleground states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, California, Florida, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico and Virginia with oversamples of suburban women and Latino women in several states. 

Even more detailed findings are here.