Nearly 3 in 4 voters say climate change ‘a serious problem’
LANSING – The COVID-19 pandemic has created an atmosphere where voters are more focused on their health and the ways it can be improved — including adoption of more clean energy — according to a survey taken of general election Michigan voters.
A new survey conducted by GQR among 800 likely voters showed broad support for expansion of clean, renewable energy and combating climate change by reducing Michigan’s reliance on fossil fuels.
“A majority of Michigan voters – 67 percent – want to increase the state’s use of renewable energy, like wind and solar,” said Al Quinlan, partner at GQR. “The COVID-19 virus and the ramifications of the pandemic have made voters laser focused on efforts to improve public health, and they recognize expanding clean energy is one way to accomplish that.”
Among the key findings:
- Last fall, Gov. Gretchen Whitmer signed an executive order calling for Michigan to become carbon neutral and setting benchmarks to achieve the goal. A majority of voters – 75 % – support this initiative.
- 74 percent of voters are more likely to support a candidate who supports the governor’s plan.
- 71 percent of voters believe climate change is a serious problem and 50 percent of voters want combating climate change to be a higher priority for leaders.
- 67 percent of voters want to increase the state’s use of renewable energy, like wind and solar.
- Voters predominantly cite public health, clean water and the Great Lakes — along with economic benefits — as the best reasons to support expanding renewable energy.
“The ongoing COVID-19 pandemic shows we need leaders who will make health and safety a top priority, and that includes ensuring our air and water is clean by reducing dangerous pollution that puts our lives at risk and makes COVID worse,” said Nick Dodge, communications director for Michigan League of Conservation Voters. “This survey shows clear support among Michigan voters for Gov. Whitmer’s proactive approach to protect our health, tackle climate change and ensure we have safe, clean water to drink.”
Approximately 10% of Michigan adults have asthma and COVID-19 exacerbates this, leading to irreparable damage or death, according to research from Harvard University.
“If Michigan expands our use of renewable energy, energy efficiency, and electric vehicles, we can improve public health and save lives,” said Kindra Weid, RN and coalition coordinator of MI Air MI Health. “Our energy choices have significant impacts on the air we breathe and on our Great Lakes. Michiganders know that is why we need leadership that understands the need to reduce pollution, not make it worse.”
While the margin of error for an online survey cannot be calculated, if this poll were conducted among a probability sample then the margin of error would be of +/- 3.46 percentage points at the 95 percent confidence interval.