New Poll: Strong Support for Limiting Carbon Pollution in Pennsylvania

May 14, 2019
Elaine Labalme,, (412) 996-4112


(Harrisburg, PA – May 14, 2019) A new poll released today found an overwhelming 79% of Pennsylvania voters support placing a limit on carbon pollution from Pennsylvania’s power plants that would decline over time to ensure the Commonwealth’s electricity supply becomes carbon-free.

The poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group and commissioned by EDF Action, found majorities across all demographics supporting the proposal to limit carbon pollution, including 66% of Republicans and 79% of rural voters. It also found proposals to bail out the state’s nuclear industry were deeply unpopular, with 64% opposing policies to require effectively half of Pennsylvania’s electricity come from nuclear power. When asked to choose between the two proposals, voters overwhelming supported the proposal to limit carbon pollution (71% to 29%). Support for carbon limits over a nuclear bailout remained strong among likely voters even after a simulated debate exposed voters to opposition messaging.   

Importantly, the poll found Pennsylvania lawmakers who took strong action on the climate crisis were viewed much more favorably. After a simulated debate, a candidate in support of regulations to limit carbon enjoyed a 10-point increase in support over a candidate in opposition. Increased support was driven particularly by center-right voters and women, while lawmakers opposed to climate action were viewed more negatively.

“Governor Wolf and legislators have a powerful opportunity to deliver on behalf of Pennsylvanians who overwhelmingly support setting a limit on carbon pollution from the power sector, the single largest source of climate pollution in the state,” said Andrew Williams, Director, Regulatory & Legislative Affairs, EDF Action. “This is the type of commonsense strategy that voters understand will deliver results. Pollution limits improve health and environmental outcomes, and can be implemented through flexible market-based programs that will increase investment in cleaner, zero-emission sources of electricity such as solar and wind.”   

The poll follows Governor Wolf’s recent announcement that Pennsylvania will join the U.S. Climate Alliance, where he also said he would take a “serious look” at the state joining the Regional Greenhouse Gas Initiative (RGGI), a market-based system that reduces carbon pollution from power plants in nine northeast and mid-Atlantic states.

Global Strategy Group conducted a voter-file matched online survey from March 19-26, 2019 with 1,201 likely 2020 general election voters in Pennsylvania. Questions about the proposal to place a limit on carbon emissions from power plants were asked of a half sample of 601 likely voters. Care was taken to ensure the political, geographic, and demographic divisions of the expected electorate were properly represented based on historical turnout.