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'A Winning Issue' for 2020: Polling Shows Strong Support for Bold Climate Policies

"Voters are eager to support candidates that pledge to transform our country into a clean energy economy that will thrive for generations to come."

Despite the recent Covid-19 pandemic surge and a struggling California business climate, life in the agricultural and rural areas of inland Santa Barbara County has been relatively unchanged as the sun dips behinds a cloud bank on July 12, 2020, near Santa Ynez. (Photo: George Rose/Getty Images)

New polling out Tuesday from Data for Progress revealed U.S. voters by a wide margin want a president and Congress who prioritizes clean energy and addressing the climate crisis, a good sign for presumed Democratic nominee Joe Biden, whose new environmental plan promises carbon-free electricity by 2035.

"Data for Progress polling demonstrates that boldly addressing the climate crisis is a winning issue for candidates in 2020," Data for Progress climate data analyst Danielle Deiseroth, who worked on the poll, said in a statement on the findings. "Voters are eager to support candidates that pledge to transform our country into a clean energy economy that will thrive for generations to come."

The polling (pdf) found clear majorities supporting a clean energy economy by 2035 and behind green infrastructure as a part of the Covid-19 pandemic recovery that can create jobs in communities around the country. Data for Progress deputy climate director Marcela Mulholland noted that the polling on the issue is good news for Biden. 

"Biden's plan is exactly the kind of job-creating, justice-centering policy that voters, specifically young voters and persuadable voters, are excited about," said Mulholland. "We need a more just society powered by clean energy to rebuild from the coronavirus pandemic and avert climate chaos. Luckily, that's what voters want too."

In an analysis of the findings, Deiseroth, Mulholland, and Data for Progress vice president for policy and strategy Julian Brave Noisecat wrote that the poll's results indicate that while Biden's plan isn't perfect, its ambition is what's needed for both his campaign and the planet. 

According to the three analysts:

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The Democratic nominee for the highest office in the land has endorsed a plan that won't solve all of our problems, but will give us and our children and our most vulnerable relatives and neighbors a fighting chance. And luckily, our research suggests that, come November, voters just might reward him for it.

Sam Ricketts, co-founder of Evergreen Action, wrote in a blog post celebrating the Biden plan that activists and advocates around the country should be proud of the work done to shift the former vice president on the climate crisis.

"Biden didn't make these improvements to his climate plan on his own," wrote Ricketts. "This progress stems from months of advocacy—from Jay Inslee and his policy team, from Evergreen Action, and from supporters like you who've continually raised your voice."

Mulholland noted voters have long expressed to her group their preference for bold action on the climate crisis.

"Time and again, Data for Progress polling has shown that a broad-base of voters are enthusiastically supportive of an ambitious climate agenda that creates jobs and addresses the climate crisis on the scale that science demands," said Mulholland. 

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