Today, Conservation Colorado, Western Resource Advocates, and Global Strategy Group released new survey data and analysis showing that Colorado voters support taking strong government action on climate change, including overwhelming support for the Colorado Air Quality Control Commission (AQCC) to adopt strong rules within the next year that will guarantee that the state hits its carbon emission targets. The polls were conducted in December 2019 and May 2020, and demonstrate Coloradans’ continued support for climate action even during the COVID-19 pandemic. A recording of the video press conference is available here.
Colorado HB 19-1261, which was passed by the Legislature and signed into law by Governor Jared Polis in May 2019, puts in statute science-based targets to reduce carbon emissions by at least 50% by 2030 and by at least 90 percent by 2050, compared to 2005 levels. The law directs the AQCC to develop cost-effective regulations to meet these targets, including setting a July 2020 statutory deadline for promulgation of rules. Multiple analyses show that even with the strong action to date from the executive branch, Legislature, and private businesses, Colorado is significantly off track from hitting its targets.
There is strong support for climate action across the state of Colorado. According to the May poll, by an overwhelming 61%-22% margin, Colorado voters support the state’s leaders taking strong action to combat climate change. This includes a large 64%-17% margin among unaffiliated voters and an equally impressive margin of 64%-16% in the swing suburbs of Jefferson, Arapahoe, and Adams counties. Moreover, the poll shows that voters will change their vote on the issue of climate: a Democratic candidate who supports strong climate action beats a Republican candidate who does not by 21 points in the generic legislative ballot. Specifically, while Democrats already enjoy an 8-point advantage on a standard generic ballot, a Democrat who backs climate action gains 13 additional points.
“Supporting climate action is more than good policy — it’s also good politics,” said Jessica Goad, deputy director of Conservation Colorado. “Voters throughout the state support Colorado’s leaders enacting bold, nationally leading climate policy that hits our pollution reduction targets and agree that it will benefit our state now and leave a positive legacy for future generations.”
“Coloradans’ unwavering support for strong climate action is further reason that our state must urgently pursue more ambitious policies to meet our science-based greenhouse gas reduction goals, even while we work to address the current health crisis,” said Stacy Tellinghuisen, senior climate policy analyst at Western Resource Advocates. “While Colorado has already taken some important steps to address climate change, more work is needed. We urge our leaders to listen to voters and take additional action to reduce climate pollution and protect our communities – particularly those that continue to suffer disproportionately due to harmful emissions.”
Voters overwhelmingly agree that the AQCC should act quickly to implement strong rules to guarantee Colorado hits its carbon emissions targets, the survey found. And, after hearing details of Colorado’s Climate Action Plan, seven in 10 voters (71%) agreed that the AQCC should act within the next year to create rules that guarantee that the state will meet its targets.
Additionally, voters believe creating these rules will have positive impacts in Colorado. They believe that the rules will have clear benefits on air quality, public health, water and public lands, as well as future generations of their families and climate – and a plurality agrees that these rules will have a positive impact on the economy.
Conservation Colorado is the state’s largest environmental advocacy organization.
Global Strategy Group conducted a survey of 600 registered voters in Colorado between December 13 and December 17, 2019, plus an oversample of 122 Latinx registered voters (for a total of 184 Latinx voters) and a second survey of 800 registered voters in Colorado between May 7 and May 11, 2020. The surveys were conducted online via a combination of text-to-web methodology, with voters chosen at random from the voter file, and with respondents who were recruited from multiple opt-in online panel vendors. All respondents were verified against a voter file, and special care was taken to ensure the demographic composition of our sample matched that of Colorado’s registered voter population across a variety of demographic variables including party registration, race, gender, age, education, region, and population density.