New Research Shows Alignment Between American Voters On Climate Change And Inflation Reduction Act – Forbes
As much polarization as we see in the country today, including how some have made climate change a culture issue, it might be surprising to hear that most American voters are aligned on it and support new legislation to address it.
Those are the findings of two new independent studies when we analyze them together. They show that the new legislation passed by Congress and signed into law by President Biden, including the Inflation Reduction Act, line up with the beliefs a large majority of American voters have about the need to address climate change.
The Inflation Reduction Act allocates about $369 billion in climate change-related investments and incentives, and the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act allocates billions of dollars to shore up the country’s infrastructure against the ravages of climate change and to reduce the carbon footprint of the country’s infrastructure as well. The CHIPS and Science Act does as well, including funding for the Foundation for Energy Security and Innovation (FESI).
According to new research by the Yale Center for Climate Change Communications, 66% of registered voters said they believed in “transitioning the U.S. economy (including electric utilities, transportation, buildings, and industry) from fossil fuels to 100% clean energy by 2050.” Nearly all Democrats – 97%, of “liberal Democrats and 87% of moderate/conservative Democrats – and even 63% of liberal/moderate Republicans, and 22% of conservative Republicans,” all agreed.
What’s interesting is that nearly the same amount of all Americans, 65%, also support the Inflation Reduction Act, according to another study, by Navigator, including 64% of Independents and 35% of Republicans. The Yale study found about the same percentage of support for it among registered voters, 68%, once they heard what was in the new legislation.
Work to do to explain the legislation
With 33% of Americans having heard “nothing at all” about the new legislation, another 24% having heard “a little,” and 29% havening heard “some,” according to the Yale study, the Biden Administration and its supporters in Congress and statehouses have a lot of work to do to inform the public about it and how it may help the public’s bottom line. The administration and the legislation’s supporters also need to explain how it will address climate change, both short- and long-term, lower prescription drug prices and health insurance costs, update the Internal Revenue Service and, as the name indicates, reduce inflation.
Everyone has their own priorities and what drives their vote, especially as another presidential election nears. Navigator found that 64% of Democrats and two-thirds of Black Americans (63%) were “more motivated to vote” due to passage of this historic legislation. We’ll see if that carries over for 22 months to the next election.
Does the public know it will create millions in new jobs too?
Perhaps these people sense that this new legislation, coupled with the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act and the CHIPS and Science Act will also create 9 million new jobs, as the Blue Green Alliance and University of Massachusetts at Amherst found. Some of these will be completely new career paths and jobs.
Telva McGruder, Chief Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Officer of General Motors said in an exclusive interview that GM’s transition to only manufacture electric vehicles by 2035 is causing them to hire different skills and different types of people, with different backgrounds and experiences. “We don’t simply need an electrical engineer or a mechanical engineer, or a person with a computer science degree,” she said, “What are the skills that we’re looking for? What are the interests that we need in the talent that’s coming in?”
Is the new legislation leading or catching up to the marketplace?
Many companies have been investing in this net zero transition for years, nudged by investors, customers and potential recruits demanding it and because it will reduce their costs overall, it’s fair to wonder if this legislation is leading or just catching up to market pressures.
Either way, this new legislation is giving companies and organizations additional and strong incentives to “go green” as it dangles the carrots of government funding or tax incentives if they do – and potentially not qualifying for lucrative government or private sector contracts if they don’t reduce their carbon footprint and can demonstrate it.
These studies reflect that a majority of American voters and the general public are aligned with it as well, even if they don’t realize it yet.
We’ll find out in about 22 months if, and if so how, it translates into votes.