October 27th, 2009
05:00 AM ET
13 years ago

CNN Poll: 6 in 10 back 'cap and trade'

WASHINGTON (CNN) - Six in 10 Americans support a "cap and trade" proposal to cut pollution, according to a new national poll.

Sixty percent of those questioned in a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey say they favor "cap and trade," a Democratic sponsored plan in which the federal government would limit the amount of greenhouse gases that companies could produce in their factories or power plants. Thirty-seven percent oppose the proposal, which would penalize companies that exceed greenhouse gas limits with fines or by making those businesses pay money to other companies that producer smaller amounts of pollution.

Full results (pdf)

The poll's release Tuesday morning comes as the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing on new "cap and trade" legislation. The bill, sponsored by committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-California and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts), includes provisions to hold down costs to consumers and certain industries. Republicans say the bill would destroy jobs and increase taxes and energy costs for average Americans. The House of Representatives passed a "cap and trade" bill this summer along a party-line vote.

The survey indicates a generational divide, with 68 percent of Americans under age 50 supporting "cap and trade" but those 50 and older split on the issue.

"This is one more example of the growing generation gap that is shaping politics and policy in this country," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Younger Americans voted for Obama and tend to welcome change. Older Americans were less enamored of change in the 2008 election and senior citizens were the only age group that voted for John McCain."

The poll also suggests a partisan divide, with three in four Democrats backing the proposal and nearly six in 10 independents on board as well, but only four in 10 Republicans supporting "cap and trade."

"The support of independents will be crucial to any cap and trade proposal," Holland says. "Independents may not be red or blue, but they appear to be green. Earlier polls indicate that Independents believe in global warming and believe that the government can take steps to curtail the problem. But the environment is not a big priority for Independents, as it is with Democrats."

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted October 16-18, with 1,038 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's sampling error is plus or minus 3 percentage points.

Follow Paul Steinhauser on Twitter: @psteinhausercnn

Filed under: CNN Polls • Energy
soundoff (72 Responses)
  1. Sniffit

    Finally CNN isn't lying about poll data, unlike their insistence that the public option is not being supported by the people (FACT: 73% do support it) or that the President is unpopular (FACT: 63% support the President compared to 37% pro-Bush)

    Maybe the GOP is losing their media pull

    October 27, 2009 09:19 am at 9:19 am |
  2. phoenix86

    In other words, 6 in 10 don't realize that Cap and Trade is a TAX.

    October 27, 2009 09:25 am at 9:25 am |
  3. Hugo

    More government propaganda to allow the elite even more control over your life. Want low pollution electricity without green house gases? Build nuclear power generating stations, want cars to run on hydrogen or batteries, make incentives to the auto makers and purchase the patents. If there is any common sense approach to correcting a problem, have no fear, your Government will miss it and burden you with some idiotic program that will tax you on farts and bleed you into financial oblivion.

    Can't Wait for 2010 and 2012 to get rid of these traitors!

    October 27, 2009 09:27 am at 9:27 am |
  4. Emmanuel Goldstein

    "The bill, sponsored by committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-California and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts), includes provisions to hold down costs to consumers and certain industries"

    That means nationalization, folks. So, if you are an investor, you may want to see which industry will become nationalized like Government Motors was, and invest (or disinvest) accordingly.

    October 27, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  5. Bj

    If the general populace really understood the cap and trade proposals, it would be opposed by all but the most ignorant. It will do nothing to reduce emmissions worldwide, but will cost US citizens a fortune. This is nothing more than subsidizing ineffective ways of producing energy with effective ways. Once you bankrupt the effective power producers with this pie in the sky plan, enrgy prices will go through the roof, and since Obama has already bankrupted our country it's going to be a tough sell to get these non-effective means of generation subsidized by the American taxpayer.

    October 27, 2009 09:29 am at 9:29 am |
  6. Gumdrops

    What garbage. Get a brain!

    October 27, 2009 09:30 am at 9:30 am |
  7. Johnny DC

    Anyone who supports C&T is doing so solely by examining the environmental impact and not the CATASTROPHIC impact on our economy and personal finances.

    Is a reduction in emmissions a good thing? OF COURSE.

    What you morons don't realize is the UNAVOIDABLE transfer of cost from the big companies to your energy bills. These companies will not simply eat the fines, when they can unilaterally increase costs to their customers and potentially earn even more profit.

    Read before you vote, people. This is clearly documented and supported by all economists with a pulse.

    October 27, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  8. Otis

    Yet another bill that will surely lead to the demise of America as we know it.

    I know climate change is an issue. However, rather than seriously fix the problems of our industrial and electrical plants, we're telling them it's okay to pollute to a certain point, but if your credits run out, buy more.

    And when they buy more credits, guess who is going to get stuck with the bill? Answer: You, the taxpayer.

    Do you really think the corporations will eat the cost? Congress seems to think they will. We know differently.

    October 27, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  9. Beth Sturgiss

    Please think "world government", because that is what Obama and his Foolish Followers are thinking. Obama will bring down the US to the level of Kenya or some other God-forsaken place so we can all be equal, and so the US won't give him problems as a world power when he is leader of the world government. Truly, this is his aim. Better think fast, America, time is growing short on this.

    October 27, 2009 09:33 am at 9:33 am |
  10. mike

    I am tired of the oil companies controlling and telling the american people that we need to drill it is time for them to move aside and allow a more responsible way to produce energy just wait until china starts refining there own oil then they won't be a player at all. why do you think china is buying up all the oil its time for us to go to the next level and produce green energy or we will be in another war

    October 27, 2009 09:35 am at 9:35 am |
  11. Tate

    Haaaaaaaaa, How can you even act like a news orginization! Your polls are so fake it makes you lose any credibility you had. This keation clown should be fired. he is off 30% in both the latest polls. If you only ask liberals this is what you will get but it makes it a clear bias poll. This is why nobody watches how hard is that to figure out.

    October 27, 2009 09:36 am at 9:36 am |
  12. Mark


    I do not know one citzen that is in favor, Why is that? CNN ticker news, by their own poll,
    Funny how it comes out and I quote "poll's release Tuesday morning comes as the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing on new "cap and trade" legislation."
    The bill, sponsored by Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts, I thought we were through with him when he was soundly defeated for the Presidency, guess not, hope his wife is supporting this for her own factories.

    October 27, 2009 09:38 am at 9:38 am |
  13. Torch

    Sarah Palin said it best.

    "let's make energy more expensive and scarce" What a great idea, bought to you by, The Democrat Party. The party of no ideas other than big govt. regulation and taxes and fraud and waste.

    Seriously, this is the MOST ruinious peice of legislation EVER to contemplated by a Congress.

    I don't believe your poll for a moment, it's as popular as healthcare, but worse.

    October 27, 2009 09:46 am at 9:46 am |
  14. Terry from West Texas

    "The House of Representatives passed a "cap and trade" bill this summer along a party-line vote."

    That is to say, of course, that Conservatives are opposed to any effort to de-toxify the environment. The owners of polluting factories do not live underneath those smokestakes and Conservatives do not care a bit what happens to the middle and lower classes.

    As Marie Antoinette might have said, "What, the poor have no air to breathe? Then let them breathe sludge."

    (Actually, Antoinette never said "let them eat cake." It was someone else, but I forget who."

    October 27, 2009 09:47 am at 9:47 am |
  15. Mel Bailey

    Yes, it is about time that we do what is best for the health of the nation and the world, and not just what is best for pockets of a few "fat cats".

    October 27, 2009 09:51 am at 9:51 am |
  16. Confused in Neb.

    Cap and Trade will drive up costs...If the energy companies have to pay extra to cover this "TAX" where do you think the money will come from you and me. I have friend that work with the power company and they estimates cost will go up by at least 35%.

    October 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  17. Wheat

    Would like to know the breakdown of those polled........

    October 27, 2009 09:52 am at 9:52 am |
  18. PR

    Sure it does. Let's be sure to qualify the headline that it is a CNN poll.

    October 27, 2009 09:53 am at 9:53 am |
  19. Rob

    I see CNN is once again polling the clueless and dim-witted. What does it say when that's the only group of people they can get who have a somewhat favorable opinion of the Yutz in Chief?

    October 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  20. inofritzn

    This scares me way more then health care reform. Hasn't the globe been cooling for 8 years now or something? I don't think we should take drastic measures until we have more historical data to judge.

    October 27, 2009 09:55 am at 9:55 am |
  21. TimInStl

    Nice Job CNN. You don't bother to tell us your demographics in this poll. I am guessing 2/3 democrat. Also as a follow up why not ask the respondents, "would you approve of a 115% increase in your energy costs to support this bill?" Instead in your stealth article you state "includes provisions to hold down costs to consumers and certain industries". How about an example of that? You must be kidding, right?

    October 27, 2009 09:57 am at 9:57 am |
  22. Sam Sixpack

    ... and less than 1 in 10 have any idea what cap and trade really is - a new way to tax manufacturers. It will curb pollution by shutting down factories and putting workers on the street. How many people are in favor of that?

    October 27, 2009 09:58 am at 9:58 am |
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