Poll: Climate Inaction Would Put Democratic Majority at Risk 

Poll: Climate Inaction Would Put Democratic Majority at Risk 

WASHINGTON – (September 29, 2021) Democrats will find it difficult to motivate the young voters they need to maintain control of the House and Senate next year if they are unable to pass the significant climate legislation President Joe Biden promised during his campaign, according to a new poll conducted by ALG Research for the NRDC Action Fund.  

The survey of younger Democrats and Independents in key battleground districts and states found that nearly half would be less enthusiastic about turning out to vote in the upcoming midterm elections and less enthusiastic about voting for Democrats if major climate provisions are dropped from the Build Back Better Act. But by an 8-to-1 margin, these same voters said they would be more enthusiastic about turning out for Democrats if reconciliation legislation strongly supported Biden’s climate agenda. 

“Younger voters will need a reason to turn out to vote in 2022, and our poll found if Democrats do not fulfill their promise to take bold action on this crisis, they could put their majority in jeopardy,” said Kayla Calkin, political director for the NRDC Action Fund. “This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to do the right thing. Congress and President Biden must act now for our future.”  

Overwhelming majorities of those surveyed (86%) agreed with the statement, “Joe Biden and Democrats made a promise in the last election to take bold action on climate change, and I expect them to honor that promise.” 

The poll of 800 Democratic and Independent low-propensity voters was conducted in all of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee’s “Frontline” House districts, and statewide in five Senate battleground states: Arizona, Georgia, New Hampshire, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin. 

A memo from ALG Research follows. 

September 29, 2021 

To:      NRDC Action Fund
Fr:       ALG Research
Re:      Findings from Survey of Low-Propensity Democrats and Independents in DCCC Frontline Districts and Battleground Senate States

Younger, infrequent-voting Democratic and Independent voters in Frontline Districts and Battleground Senate[1] states say that Democrats have made promises on addressing climate change they expect them to keep. They say fully funding climate action in the spending bill will motivate them to go vote for Democrats in the midterms. But a majority of this critical group also says stripping real climate action from the bill will make them less enthusiastic to turn out to vote for Democrats.

Key Takeaways

  • These low-propensity voters want the full Build Back Better agenda passed. Two-thirds of voters (66%) say they would be more likely to vote in 2022 if Democrats in Congress pass the spending bill with all these items included (see appendix A for a full description of what we tested), with 40% saying they would be much more likely to vote. Sentiment is even stronger among Latino (47% much more likely) and African-American voters (46% much more likely).
  • These voters want real action on climate change in the legislation they feel Democrats promised them in 2020. 82% of these dropoff voters say addressing climate change is a very important priority for them in the spending bill. Fully addressing climate change in the bill is particularly important to younger voters, women of color, and college-educated whites. Overwhelming majorities agree (86%) agree with the statement, “Joe Biden and Democrats made a promise in the last election to take bold action on climate change, and I expect them to honor that promise.”
  • If Democrats don’t live up to that promise, most of these voters say they will be less enthusiastic to vote in the midterms. With the midterm election in the balance, a 52% majority of these low-turnout voters agreed with the statement, “If addressing climate change is not fully funded in the spending bill, I will be less enthusiastic about voting in 2022.” This rises to 69% among Democratic low-propensity voters 25 and younger, including 69% of among young White Democratic voters and 69% of young Democratic voters of color.
  • Dropoff Democrats are also placing a high priority on protecting safe drinking water. Nearly 90% of these low-propensity voters agree that “ensuring all Americans have access to safe drinking water by eliminating all lead pipes and service lines in our drinking water systems is an important priority for me in the spending bill.” Support for this priority ran extremely high among all demographics regardless of age, race, gender, or educational attainment.

[1] The following findings are based on the results of an online survey conducted by ALG Research from September 15-22, 2021, in DCCC Frontline Districts and Senate Battleground States among N=800 low-propensity 2022 general election voters (N=401 Frontline & N=401 Senate Battleground). The results are subject to a margin of error of +/- 3.5% at the 95% confidence interval.