State Polls Show Public Opposes GOP’s “Just Say No” Push on Climate

WASHINGTON (March 12, 2015) – Large majorities of Americans in four key states wholeheartedly want their leaders to design a state-specific plan to meet new federal standards curbing dangerous carbon pollution from power plants, bipartisan polling released today shows.

The findings show the public directly at odds with Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell's recent attempts to block the Environmental Protection Agency’s Clean Power Plan targeting the key climate pollutant, by calling on states to adopt a “just say no” stance. 

“Senator McConnell knows he can’t use Congress to stop EPA from protecting our health from dangerous carbon pollution, so he has resorted to urging state leaders to do his dirty work. This is just one more effort of Senator McConnell going all out for the big polluter agenda. That will harm the public but will help those who spent as much as $700 million to win him the Senate,” said Peter Altman, climate campaign director at the Natural Resources Defense Council, which released the polling. “State leaders should be helping their constituents, not siding with a senator from another state. After all, even in these moderate states, it’s clear that the public thinks states should chart their own course in cutting carbon pollution and developing clean energy.”

In fact, the polling shows that McConnell is markedly out of step with an overwhelming number of Americans in Virginia, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Ohio.

Instead of obstructing progress to curb the key driver of climate change as the Kentucky Republican counsels, more than eight in 10 residents— broad majorities of Democrats, Republicans and Independents— in those states have news for him: “We Say Yes.”

In fact, 84 percent of Ohioans, 83 percent of Virginians, 83 percent if Illinoisans, and 82 percent of Pennsylvanians say they support their state developing its own state plan to reduce carbon pollution and increase the use of clean energy and energy efficiency, the polling shows.

In each state as well, a clear majority also support the Clean Power Plan: 58 percent of Ohioans, 60 percent of Pennsylvanians, 64 percent of Virginians and 66 percent of Illinoisans.

The bipartisan team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) and Public Opinion Strategies (POS) conducted each state poll. The margin of sampling error for each study is +/- 4.9 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence level; margins of error for population subgroups will be higher. Due to rounding, some percentages may not sum to 100 percent.


  • Ohio: the poll surveyed 400 likely 2016 voters in Ohio via landline and cell phone from February 22-25, 2015.
  • Pennsylvania: The poll surveyed 400 registered voters in Pennsylvania via landline and cell phone from December 17-18, 2014.
  • Virginia: The poll surveyed 400 registered voters in Virginia via landline and cell phone from January 7-11, 2015.
  • Illinois: The poll surveyed 402 registered voters in Illinois via landline and cell phone from February 8-15, 2015.

For more, see a blog from Altman here:

A memo from the pollsters on the findings is here:


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