Nearly as many Americans oppose the legislation as support it
So far, the “Green New Deal” legislation proposed by Democratic Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Senator Ed Markey has made more of an impact with the bill’s likely opponents than with its potential supporters. In the latest Economist/YouGov Poll, roughly half (51%) of Republicans say they strongly oppose the legislation. More than half of Democrats (54%) take no stand today in support or opposition to the proposal.
Republicans are almost twice as likely as Democrats to have heard a lot about the bill. One in three Republicans have heard a lot about the proposal, compared to just 18% of Democrats.
Critics of the bill attack its increased role for government, its costs, and say it would be ineffective. Many reject the need for such a bill: although more than half the public (54%) believe that climate change is taking place and that humans are directly responsible, just under a third (31%) believe either that humans have no role in climate change or that it is not occurring at all. The climate change deniers, however, only make up 6% of the population.
Among adults who say they do not think climate change is taking place, nearly half say they have heard a great deal about it. That’s twice as many as the 24% overall who have heard a lot.
Republicans are far less likely than Democrats to attribute climate change to human behavior, and that has been the case for a while. But while 82% of those who see humans affecting the climate are absolutely or pretty sure of their stance (50% are “absolutely sure”), those taking the dominant GOP view (climate change is happening, but is not due to human actions) are less convinced they are right. One in four are absolutely sure their position is right, and another 32% are pretty sure.
Although there is significant (and sometimes strong) opposition to the bill overall, there are parts of it that even many of the bill’s current opponents like. Those include provisions protecting public lands (supported by 60% of the bill’s opponents) and enacting trade rules that have strong labor and environmental protections (supported by 58% of Green New Deal opponents). More than a third of the bill’s opponents would support investment in research and development for new renewables and keeping business people free from domination of domestic or international monopolies.
The questions about the bill used the actual wording of the legislation, and on some items, many weren’t sure what to think. But in general, the bill’s components are supported, some proposals much more than others.