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Poll: Washington Voters Support Aligned Action on Transportation and Climate

Washingtonians overwhelmingly see climate change as real, urgent, and requiring strong, comprehensive action. According to new poll results, more than three-quarters of voters believe we cannot rely on Washington, DC to solve climate change, and nearly 70% of voters believe that climate change is a major threat to our health and economy and that we should respond with bold action, AND that the state should join other states to pass comprehensive policy to reduce carbon emissions using the best available science.

The poll conducted last month by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) on behalf of the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute (LCPI), also queried voters’ attitudes toward specific climate policies. 

One such policy, Cap & Invest, would set a limit on greenhouse gas emissions, and use the sale of permits to generate resources to make investments in energy efficiency projects, vehicle electrification and other transportation projects, and sequestration of carbon using natural resources. The polling shows that 63% of voters support this concept, with 39% strongly supporting, with a majority (52%) of support among voters who self-identified as being rural or having an agricultural tie. The LCPI is currently developing support for a Cap & Invest program tailored to the needs of Washington state and is seeking stakeholder engagement on this effort. 

Cap & Invest is also one of the revenue sources being considered in the development of Forward Washington, a comprehensive 10-year transportation and environmental plan introduced by Sen. Steve Hobbs that would invest in infrastructure, transit, and green technology projects throughout the state. On the issue of transportation funding, 44% of voters surveyed said they prefer increasing taxes and fees to prevent major cuts in road and transit projects caused by the passage of I-976 (compared to 27% who prefer making major cuts to projects to prevent increases in other taxes or fees). Further, 64% of voters (+6% net support from rural voters) indicated they would support establishing a fee on large emitters and using the funds to invest in carbon reduction projects and transportation options.

In addition to support for Cap & Invest, voters in both urban and rural communities indicated strong support for other carbon reduction policies, including:

  • Using natural climate solutions, such as managing forests and soil to capture carbon and reduce pollution: 78% overall support (+52% net support from rural voters).
  • Transitioning to 100% clean electricity: 67% overall support (+10% net support from rural voters).
  • Joining 11 other states by requiring that automakers and dealerships keep more electric vehicles in stock on the lot available for purchase: 62% overall support (+28% net support from rural voters).
  • Regarding transportation options, 55% of voters favor expanding access to public transportation, with 26% preferring the option of expanding the number of electric vehicles on the road. The only place where support flips is amongst voters with a rural or agricultural tie with 40% in support of EVs compared to 35% in support of transit.

Our state lawmakers should feel confident in the broad range of voter support to take bold action on our transportation and climate challenges, which are closely interlinked.   

David Giuliani is the co-founder and chief engineer of the Low Carbon Prosperity Institute.

About the poll:

  • 612 interviews Washington voters likely to participate in the November 2020 election.
  • Conducted February 10-16, 2020, online and via landline and cell phones.
  • Margin of sampling error of +/-4% at the 95% confidence interval.
  • Funded by David Giuliani 

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