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Voters Have an Unfavorable View of the EPA

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Fewer voters than ever have a favorable opinion of the Environmental Protection Agency, and a plurality say that its regulations and actions hurt the economy. 

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 32% of Likely U.S. Voters have a favorable opinion of the EPA, the lowest finding in the three years the question has been asked. Forty percent (40%) view the agency unfavorably, unchanged from June. Twenty-eight percent (28%) are undecided, the highest finding to date. (To see survey question wording, click here).

One-in-four (24%) now think the regulations and actions of the EPA help the economy. That’s up slightly from June, but still down from 29% last October and 35% in June 2011. Forty-one percent (41%) still believe the federal environmental agency’s actions hurt the economy instead, unchanged from previous surveys. Sixteen percent (16%) think the agency’s actions have no impact on the economy. This is the lowest finding since March 2013. Nearly as many (19%) are not sure.

Voters are evenly divided on the cause of global warming. Forty-two percent (42%) say human activity is to blame for global warming. This is down slightly from June and is the lowest finding since November 2012. The same amount (42%) see long-term planetary trends as the cause, up five points from June and tied for the year high found in August

Fifty-nine percent (59%) consider global warming at least somewhat a serious problem, while 37% disagree. This includes 32% who believe it is a Very Serious problem and 17% who say it is Not at All Serious.

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The survey of 1,000 Likely Voters was conducted on December 21-22, 2014 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.

When asked which level of government should establish rules and regulations for environmental protection, 42% of voters say it should be the federal government, equal to the high found in April 2013. Twenty-seven percent (27%) believe state governments should be in charge of establishing those regulations, while 17% say it should be an international organization such as the United Nations. Just six percent (6%) say local governments should establish these rules and regulations.

Voters under the age of 40 are much more likely to have a favorable opinion of the EPA than their elders. Older voters are more likely to point to long-term planetary trends as the cause of global warming.

Forty-seven percent (47%) of Democrats view the EPA favorably, compared to 16% of Republicans and 31% of voters not affiliated with either major party. Sixty-one percent (61%) of GOP believe long-term planetary trends cause global warming while 62% of Democrats blame human activity. Voters not affiliated with either major political party are evenly divided.

Half (51%) of liberals have a favorable view of the EPA. Sixty-four percent (64%) of conservatives view the EPA unfavorably. Moderates are narrowly divided – 38% view the EPA favorably, 31% view them unfavorably.

Most voters who consider global warming a Very Serious problem view the EPA favorably. Most voters who don't share that concern have an unfavorable opinion of the federal agency.

Voters continue to think global warming is a serious issue, but when given the choice, they believe job creation is more important than fighting global warming. 

Voters are also not willing to pay extra in taxes and utilities to fight global warming.

While President Obama has indicated that he would likely veto a bill directing the federal government to move forward with the approval of the Keystone XL Pipeline, most voters continue to favor the pipeline’s construction and feel it will help the U.S. economy.

Most Americans agree that finding new sources of energy is essential and think renewable sources are a better long-term investment than fossil fuels.

Earlier this year, nearly half (48%) of voters had a favorable opinion of the coal industry.

Additional information from this survey and a full demographic breakdown are available to Platinum Members only.

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