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. Tom in Delaware

    Yeah Right, and MoveON.org says that 70% of Americans want a Public Option...why doesn't CNN do one of your ridiculous 'FactChecks' on the accuracy of your polls....except let Rasmussen do the checking.

    You people have really got to stop oversampling Blacks and other Democrats...it skews your numbers...everybody knows it...now you know it too.

    October 27, 2009 05:39 am at 5:39 am |
  2. Glennis

    CNN poll pretty much says how that poll would go. Now, how about a poll with real people in the real world? I'll bet that one won't favor "cap and trade". Fools, zealots and liberals put on their blinders and whatever anything that advances whatever topic they're zoned in on at the moment. But anyone with any common sense at all will want a closer look before leaping onto bandwagons that have the potential to do far more damage than good, like this one.

    October 27, 2009 06:11 am at 6:11 am |
  3. jules sand-perkins

    People who pay their own heating bills had better buy comfortable winter coats to wear inside their homes if libs ram cap-and-trade into our lives.

    October 27, 2009 06:26 am at 6:26 am |
  4. Robin

    6 in 10? Are they stupid? Cap and Trade will all but bankrupt the middle class.

    October 27, 2009 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  5. John

    I am 100% in favor of reducing carbon emissions. I support reduction of fuel purchases from the middle east. North American purchases are just fine. However, now is not the time to put any extra burdens on companies. If they can do it through another means I would listen. So far the congress has taken good concepts and made BAD legislation. I would sum up Nov – Sept as blown opportunities led by poor management. I like the concepts, hate the legislation.

    October 27, 2009 06:31 am at 6:31 am |
  6. jay

    If CNN runs a poll, and most of your "readers" or "users" whatever you like, are liberal, what results do you think you are going to get?

    October 27, 2009 07:09 am at 7:09 am |
  7. Gary

    I wish the GOP would come up with ideas and suggestions. This story just reinforces the dogma of the republican party to maintain the status quo; just leave things as they are.... Just like the Flat Earth Society.....

    October 27, 2009 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  8. Dave

    6 in 10 support cap and trade because of their ignorance. Wake up people! Cap and trade's largest supporter is the energy sector. Just another way for the government pay back special interest groups.

    October 27, 2009 07:29 am at 7:29 am |
  9. Fools and their freedoms are soon parted

    This should effectively KILL capitalism and the Constitution...good job America hating liberal democrats...anything Barbara Boxer and John Kerry put together is automatically is designed to destory the free market system and destroy America

    This Copenhagen treaty...will China be signing it? They are one of the biggest polluters on the planet...

    October 27, 2009 07:34 am at 7:34 am |
  10. GI Joe

    Cap and trade is only good for the people on this earth that breathe oxygen, and want it to be clean.

    October 27, 2009 07:37 am at 7:37 am |
  11. ran

    Here we go again with the Republicans' fear /hate and obstructionism.
    They truly are the party of big business. Just like with health care they will do all they can to defeat or minimize the needed changes in energy.

    People we must stand up not only now but in 2010 and tell the republicans no more special interest over the people. Instead of the republicans gaining seats lets have them lose them instead; then maybe they will get it, but I doubt it.

    Let us give the Democrats for now and in 2010 all the support they need to get us through theses trouble times given to us by the Republicans and Bush.

    October 27, 2009 07:47 am at 7:47 am |
  12. MS Redhead

    Well said jsmith. If Obama signs the Copenhagen treaty, he can add TRAITOR to his short list of accomplishments.

    October 27, 2009 07:52 am at 7:52 am |
  13. marion/alabama

    6 in 10 do not read and understand very well,if they support cap and trade.It wll cost jobs,in the oil field,coal industry and require the government to subsidies the green jobs forever , plus drive up the price of energy for everyone. The Democrats have already added langage to the bill that will allow the Administrators of Social Security and Medicare to draw from the General fund,due to the jobs lost if the Cap and Trade passes...... Just what we need more job losses.

    October 27, 2009 07:53 am at 7:53 am |
  14. JEAN - ATL

    And if any of us believe anything that these current repubs say, I say shame on us!

    October 27, 2009 08:03 am at 8:03 am |
  15. indiana voter

    Interesting that every poll that comes out by CNN seems to overwhelmingly support any and all Democrat policies. And they say Fox News is biased. What a joke.

    October 27, 2009 08:05 am at 8:05 am |
  16. George

    I too am in favor of it provided that products of countries that do not do the same thing must have a large enough tarrif to off set the cost that American companies must endure. If that is not done, American manufacturing will not be able to compete with countries doing nothing to help stop emissions. Make it fair and YES it will work.

    October 27, 2009 08:08 am at 8:08 am |
  17. JonDie

    Unfortunately we don't live in a democracy.

    Instead we have a political system where 41 senators from the minority party can stop the country from moving forward against the wishes of the majority by simply voting to NOT let the Senate vote up or down on proposed laws.

    October 27, 2009 08:12 am at 8:12 am |
  18. Annie, Atlanta

    Why isn't one or more of our wealthier citizens coming up with a way to filter these pollutants, and then producing such filters? I would think in this day and age of climate change fears it would be a sure thing. Where's that risk taking American spirit, aside from the Wall Street Banksters, that is?

    October 27, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  19. The Lonely Libertarian of Liverpool NY

    The Cap and Trade law will be the largest tax increase ever forced on to what used to be a free nation.

    October 27, 2009 08:17 am at 8:17 am |
  20. CRob

    New poll. 6 in 10 Americans dont really understand Cap and Trade.

    October 27, 2009 08:21 am at 8:21 am |
  21. Gerald

    A CNN poll means what when 5 in 10 do not even pay taxes.

    October 27, 2009 08:23 am at 8:23 am |
  22. Laverne from WI

    I don't know about any caps and tracks but I know I need to keep getting my check and some free helth care so nobody talk bad bout Obmaa and demacrats

    October 27, 2009 08:24 am at 8:24 am |
  23. terry,va

    I wonder what the poll question was. We all would like less pollution. Here is the catch...the US can't do it by ourselves. The other thing is, the cost of our energy will go up dramatically and will cause job losses. We can't afford more job losses Obummie. You have burdened at least 2 future generations with increased taxes from a stupid stimulus bill that hasn't worked and hasn't reduced unemployment. We need jobs not more government interference.

    October 27, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  24. jerry

    Now thats a bunch of bull, I live in CT, I asked 16 co-workers and only 2 backed cap and trade, where these folks asked about the cost to us if cap and trade goes in?

    October 27, 2009 08:30 am at 8:30 am |
  25. Just My Opinion in Texas

    Oh, puh-leeze!

    Anyone can make ANY poll say what they want .. it's just how you phrase the question(s) involved and who you question.

    Phrase it "Do you want the US to do more to control greenhouse gases?" and I'm certain you'll get a majority to say ys.

    Phrase it "Are you willing to enact legislation to curtail greenhouse gases, even if it will cost you and your family $2,000 – $5,000+ MORE in electricity, gasoline and overall transportaion costs, per year, when all legislation goes into effect?" and in THIS economic climate ... the overwhelming answer will be "NO!" to "BLEEP! NO!".

    Polls mean nothing until you know how the question was asked and who was asked.

    Sorry CNN .... but I don't believe what you're trying to sell.

    October 27, 2009 08:32 am at 8:32 am |
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