Polluters Push a Paragon of Misinformation, But Most Americans Want Climate Action

A new “poll,” with some state-by-state results, is part of a larger, polluter-coordinated, national disinformation campaign to keep our air dirty, our health in jeopardy and our country paralyzed in the face of real and growing threats from climate change. It won’t work. Why?

Simply put, a strong majority of Americans consistently say they are worried about climate change and they want action, and now.

We probably shouldn’t expect anything more honest from polluters and their allies. This poll is just another of their tactics to try to undermine the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan that will set the first-ever limits on carbon pollution from America’s biggest source, power plants.worried about climate change and they want action, and now.

Conducted by Paragon Insights, the poll presents a paragon of misinformation, drummed up by asking intentionally leading questions designed to get negative responses.

This flawed ‘poll’ flies in the face of every other poll that shows strong public support for limiting dangerous carbon pollution and protecting public health. It’s nothing more than a brazenly biased -poll intended to achieve a predetermined outcome, paid for by wealthy polluters.

How is the poll biased? The survey takers read a list of the most common polluter claims – including that carbon limits could lead to energy rationing, blackouts, job losses and higher electric bills – just before asking respondents whether they support the standards or not.

Now THAT’s how you cook a poll! But even with that massive bias, the pollsters could only show 3% more people opposed to carbon limits than support them. But the poll’s margin of error is 2.7% - meaning that the polluters’ own pollster admits that they might only have .3 % more people saying they don’t support the standards than those who do.

All of their common claims are untrue, by the way, according to analysis from the EPA and research conducted for NRDC

Furthermore, when the backers released the poll they declined to release information that most credible polling firms release with their polls, such as the demographic breakdown of respondents, with age, sex, income.

So, if you ask biased questions to a mystery group of “likely voters” you get highly suspect results, and that’s what we have here.

Let’s look at just how far off base the Paragon poll—paid for by the Partnership for a Better Energy Future, a front group for the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the National Association of Manufacturers—really is.

A Quinnipiac University poll, June 24-30, 2014 sample, 1,446 of registered voters found:

  • 58 percent of voters support federal government limitations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.
  • 30 percent of voters do not support federal government limitations on greenhouse gas emissions from power plants.

A NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, June 11-15, 2014, sample of 1,000 American adults found:

  • 67 percent of Americans support the carbon regulations proposed by President Obama and the Environmental Protection Agency.
  • 31 percent of Americans believe immediate action should be taken to combat climate change
  • 57 percent approve of a proposal that would cut greenhouse gas emissions from companies, even if it leads to higher energy bills. 

Bloomberg News Poll, June 6-9, 2014, sample, 1,005 adults, found:

  • 62 percent of Americans say they would pay more for energy if it meant reducing air pollution from carbon emissions.
  • 33 percent said they were unwilling to pay more for energy if it meant reducing air pollution from carbon emissions.

A Washington Post-ABC Poll, May 29-June 1, 2014, sample of 1,002 adults, found:

  • 70 percent, support regulating carbon from power plants
  • 63 percent of Americans said the federal government should power greenhouse gases even if it meant their energy expenses would rise.

The Paragon state polling is in direct contradiction with findings from the Washington Post-ABC poll, which included interviewing adults in states where coal represents the majority of electricity consumed: West Virginia, Kentucky, Wyoming, Indiana, Missouri, North Dakota, Utah, Ohio, Wisconsin, Nebraska, Kansas, New Mexico, Maryland, Michigan, Colorado, Iowa, Tennessee, Arkansas and Montana. The sample size for respondents in these states is 280, carrying a margin of error of seven percentage points.

The poll found that 69 percent of Americans in these states say the government should place limits on greenhouse gas emissions.

And no amount of phony polling can deny that’s the message Americans are pushing right now as the EPA moves to tackle the biggest environmental threat of our time.

About the Authors

Pete Altman

Director, Climate & Clean Air Campaign, Climate & Energy program

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