Aggressive action on climate change make be a good political move for Democrats, if recent polling from Hart Research Associates is to be believed. A new poll administered by the firm and commissioned by the League of Conservation Voters (LCV) shows broad support for new carbon regulations in the swing states of Virginia and Pennsylvania.
In both states, 61% of voters were found to support new power plant rules which the EPA proposed on Monday, even after hearing the arguments for and against. The proposed rules would mandate that U.S. power plants reduce their carbon emissions to 30% below 2005 levels by 2030.
"We are clearly in a new political moment in the fight against climate change," said LCV adviser Bill Burton, a former Obama administration spokesperson, on a Thursday conference call with reporters. The Hart Research poll, he said, shows that "Republican leadership are not only wrong on policy, but the politics are absolutely atrocious for them."
For his part, President Obama is embracing the scope of the proposed rule and using it to position the United States as a world leader on climate change mitigation. He praised the EPA proposal during a Thursday press conference in Brussels.
The Hart Research poll's findings are roughly consistent with the results of a nationwide survey which the Washington Post and ABC News unveiled on Monday. According to that poll, 70% of Americans nationwide support federal regulation of power plant emissions. That includes 63% of Republicans.
Nonetheless, Republican leadership in Congress appears uniformly opposed to the EPA proposal, with House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, describing it as "nuts." Some Democratic congressional candidates in coal or fracking-heavy states, notably Kentucky's Alison Grimes, have also tried to distance themselves from the EPA.