This year’s election revealed that Americans are largely in support of key environmental issues.
Election poll after election poll showed that Americans showed strong support for renewable energy and government action on climate change, land conservation and protection of natural resources.
And, interestingly, every single senator who opposed the Keystone XL pipeline won their races this election, leaving some hopeful that this is a sign of change. .
Furthermore, candidates that support renewable energy were also elected this fall, despite hundreds of millions of dollars spent by the oil and gas industry on attack ads. While results in the House may not be as promising, Americans clearly showed support for the environment.
Here are some of the most significant findings from various election polls.
Support for renewable energy
Nearly 2 in 3 voters (64%) say they have a favorable impression of renewable energy
71% of voters favor increasing wind power and 78% favor increasing solar power
54% of voters favor investing in clean energy companies through tax credits
56% even say that they are willing to pay a bit more in utilities for renewable energy
Twice as many voters select renewable energy (38%) over fossil fuels to address current national energy challenges
Independent voters say they would choose renewable energy over Keystone XL by a 4-1 margin
Longing for response to climate change
68% of voters say global warming is at least a somewhat serious problem
65% of respondents said that political leaders need to act now in order to address future climate impacts
Desire for greater protection of resources and land
44% of voters say the government is doing too little to protect America’s air, water, wildlife and other natural resources, three times as many as say it’s doing too much
46 out of 57 local and state land conservation measures across the nation passed at an average approval rate of 81 percent, revealing large support for conservation funding
There’s no denying the evidence: Americans care about the environment and wilderness. It’s not too early for members of Congress to take heed and learn from these polls. The current Congress can still work to extend tax credits for developers of wind energy, ensure conservation funding isn’t part of budget cuts and pass some of the 27 stalled wilderness bills.
In September, our poll found that 73% of Western voters support the responsible wind and solar energy production on public lands and over 80% want revenue from that production to go towards habitat restoration and increased land conservation. The Wilderness Society will continue to work for what Americans want - support for renewable development that is kept out of sensitive areas and advocacy for further protection for America’s water, air and wild lands.