Voters in the West support a Federal Clean Electricity Standard

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The groups Data for Progress and Western Resource Advocates released the results of polls conducted in Colorado and Arizona sowing broad bipartisan support for President Joe Biden’s proposed Clean Electricity Standard (CES).

A CES of 80% by 2030 is the focus of current federal policy discussions. The goal would evolve into a target of a net-zero-emission economy by 2050.

Voters in Colorado supported the proposal by a 51-point margin, including Democrats by a 96-point margin, Independents by a 53-point margin, and more than two-fifths of Republicans.

Denver, Colorado

Image: Flickr

Support also was strong in Arizona, where voters who were polled supported the proposal by a 44-point margin, including Democrats by an 89-point margin, Independents by a 41-point margin, and, more than two-fifths of Republicans.

The results also showed that respondents across party lines favor infrastructure and policy action that would support clean energy and create jobs in the sector.

  • 73% of Colorado voters and 67% of Arizona voters support investments to create new good-paying, union jobs to manufacture the technologies of the future, like wind turbines, solar panels, and electric vehicles.
  • 71% of Colorado voters and 68% of Arizona voters support funding to give consumers rebates and other incentives to purchase items such as electric vehicles, solar panels, and home appliances that are more efficient and create less pollution.
  • 69% of Colorado voters and 64% of Arizona voters believe the government should make investments to create millions of new good-paying clean energy jobs across the country.

From June 12 to 20, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 567 likely voters across Arizona using short message service (SMS) and web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±4 percentage points. The survey methodology was the same in Colorado, but included 511 likely voters. The margin of error there also was ±4 percentage points.

Existing policies

The polls were conducted in states that already have existing CES policies.

Downtown Phoenix

Image: flickr/Jerry Ferguson

Colorado’s Climate Action Plan to Reduce Pollution, signed in 2019, set targets of reducing statewide greenhouse gas pollution 26% by 2025, 50% by 2030, and 90% by 2050 from 2005 levels. Colorado Gov. Jared Polis released earlier this year his Colorado Greenhouse Gas Pollution Roadmap outlining a plan to reach those targets.

Colorado legislators, also this year passed measures to reduce greenhouse gas pollution from most electricity production 80% by 2030 compared to 2005 levels, cut energy waste, and power homes and businesses with clean electricity. Further action to  achieve these goals is still needed.

In May 2021, Arizona regulators approved an Energy Rules update that would require the state’s electric utilities to reduce carbon emissions 50% by 2032 and 100% by 2070. The 2070 date falls short of what scientists say is needed to avoid the worst impacts of climate change. A more urgent timeline is supported by the state’s utilities, businesses, and citizens.

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