An overwhelming majority of voters in the U.S. support the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency setting stricter standards on gasoline and tighter emissions standards for cars, SUVs and trucks, according to the American Lung Association’s latest survey on the subject.
This bipartisan telephone survey of 800 registered voters, conducted during January 13-16, 2013, finds that nearly two-thirds of voters surveyed across the country support strengthening standards that limit sulfur in gasoline and tighten the limits on tailpipe emissions from new vehicles. These revised standards would reduce pollution from cars, trucks and SUVs, would protect public health and would create jobs by encouraging innovation.
“Voters clearly want clean air,” said Paul G. Billings, Senior Vice President of the American Lung Association. “Implementing these standards on gasoline would remove as much pollution as taking 33 million cars off the road. If we can remove that much pollution, we can prevent tens of thousands of asthma attacks and save thousands of lives every year.”
This survey finds voter support of stronger air pollution standards reaches across partisan, gender, racial, and geographic lines. Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies conducted the polling.
“This proposal is the most effective smog-fighting tool available, and cleaner gas would cost less than a penny per gallon,” Billings said. “That’s why automakers, states, health groups, and voters across all parties support this proposal.”
Pollution from cars has a devastating effect on the health of families and children, shortening lives, worsening asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and even causing cancer. Also by keeping people healthier, families would miss fewer days at work and the US would save billions of dollars in lower health care costs.
The majority of voters surveyed (53 percent) still favored setting stricter standards on gasoline, even after hearing opposing arguments that cars are already cleaner and allege that this proposal would cost families thousands of dollars, and would increase the cost of gas nine cents per gallon.
Key poll findings include:
* Sixty-nine percent of voters favor EPA generally updating standards with stricter limits on air pollution.
* A 2-to-1 majority (62 to 32 percent) support EPA setting stricter standards on gasoline and tightening limits on tailpipe emissions from new vehicles.
* Only 17 percent of voters believe EPA is exceeding its legal mandate to ensure air quality.
By a 2-to-1 ratio, voters still view the EPA and the Clean Air Act very positively.
Meanwhile, feelings toward Congress have declined even further, especially among Democrats and independents. Just 18 percent of voters nationally give Congress a favorable rating, while 64 percent rate Congress unfavorably.
“There is a remarkable cross-partisan consensus on nearly every question in this survey,” said Andrew Baumann, Vice President at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “Democrats, independents and moderate Republicans all support EPA taking action to ensure cleaner air – including on gasoline and vehicles.”
“Voters not only give an initial thumbs up to further strengthening standards for the gas they put in their cars – but significantly, this proposal retains majority support even after a no holds barred simulation of the debate which could occur in the public arena,” said Lori Weigel, Partner, Public Opinion Strategies.
The full survey, along with slides and a memo from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies, is online here.
Methodology: On behalf of the American Lung Association, Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research and Public Opinion Strategies conducted a national survey of 800 registered voters. The survey was conducted by live interviews among voters reached on landline and cell phones from January 13-16, 2013. The margin of error for the full sample is plus or minus 3.5 percentage points.
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