Surprise: Trump Voters Want Climate, Air, Water Safeguards

President-Elect Trump has no mandate to roll back safeguards for our air, water, and climate.

We’ve long known that strong majorities of the American people are concerned about climate change (Gallup, EESI) and support setting strict limits on carbon pollution from power plants (Yale).  Strong majorities also believe environmental regulations are worth the cost (Pew).

Here’s what may be news: The majority of Trump voters feel the same way. 

A new survey of 2000 Trump voters for Morning Consult by the Glover Park Group shows these stunning results:

  • 61% of Trump voters “support a proposal requiring US companies to reduce carbon emissions.” 28% oppose. (Slide 13)
  • 55% of Trump voters want to uphold or strengthen current climate change policies. (30% want to uphold current policies and implement new ones, 25% want to uphold current policies, and 30% want to “roll back” the policies currently in place and refrain from implementing new ones.) (slide 15)
  • 84% of Trump voters want the same or more federal regulations on drinking water. (39% want more regulations, 45% about the same, 8% fewer.) (slide 16)
  • 78% of Trump voters want the same or more federal regulations on air pollution. (31% want more regulations, 47% about the same, 15% fewer.) (slide 17).
  • 76% of Trump voters support a proposal requiring manufacturers to make appliances more energy efficient. 16% oppose. (Slide 14)
  • Only 31% of Trump voters said “reducing environmental regulations” is “very important.” Only 7% said it should be a “top priority” for Trump—dead last on the list of priorities. (slides 49-50)

Check out the full results here.

So when President-Elect Trump rails against regulation and trash talks the Environmental Protection Agency, who exactly is he speaking to?

He’s stocking up his cabinet and transition team with acolytes of the Koch Brothers, coal and oil lobbyists, the Heritage Foundation, and other far-right ideologues. 

They know what they want. But it’s not what the majority of Trump voters want. And it’s certainly not what the majority of all Americans want. 

We’ve seen this movie. Presidents Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush, and the Congress led by Newt Gingrich each overreached in their attacks on our public health and environmental protections, and they got their fingers burned. 

If Trump attacks our air, water, and climate protections, he will be going against the wishes of even his own supporters, and it will be at his peril.

About the Authors

David Doniger

Director, Climate & Clean Air program

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