|Large majorities of the residents of Florida, Maine and Massachusetts believe the Earth has been getting warmer gradually over the last 100 years (81 percent, 78 percent and 84 percent, respectively), and large majorities favor government action to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, according to a new public opinion research released Tuesday.
The research was led by Professor Jon Krosnick, a senior fellow at the Woods Institute for the Environment at Stanford University.
Following up on a national survey done in June, Krosnick and his team conducted in-depth polling between July 9 and 18 in the three states. Mirroring the national survey, the statewide research conducted in July shows that very large majorities think that if the world has been warming, it has been due primarily or at least partly to "things people do" -- 72 percent in Florida, 76 percent in Maine and 80 percent in Massachusetts, compared to 75 percent nationally.
The new research also shows that majorities of residents in these states -- 74 percent of Floridians, 77 percent of Maine residents and 77 percent of Massachusetts residents -- think the U. S. government should take action to limit the amount of greenhouse gases emitted by businesses. Of those supporting such federal action, 74 percent or more of the respondents from each state thought this should start "right away." Respondents also indicated that they were very likely to vote for candidates who gave a public statement supporting action to combat climate change, with residents of every state indicating that they were more likely to vote for a candidate who had given such a statement than one who had not.
"These in-depth studies of three interesting states suggest that in these key regards, they closely resemble the nation overall and support the notion of climate protection legislation," said Krosnick, a professor of communication and of political science at Stanford.
Most respondents said that implementing programs to reduce global warming in the future was unlikely to have a negative effect on their state economy or the national economy.
When presented with a brief description of a "cap-and-trade" permit trading system to reduce greenhouse gas emissions by businesses, majorities of respondents favored implementing the system. The largest proportions of respondents in favor of cap-and- trade were found in Massachusetts (77 percent favor) and Maine (72 percent), followed closely by Florida (68 percent). These numbers are on par with the national survey conducted in June, which showed that 74 percent of all Americans favor a cap-and-trade system.
Krosnick's research also revealed that more than half of the respondents in the three states would vote for a law to reduce national greenhouse gas emissions by 85 percent by 2050, if the cost to their household would be a 150 U.S. dollars tax increase per year. And even more said they favored a law to accomplish emissions reduction at an annual cost to them of 100 dollars (66 percent in Massachusetts, 62 percent in Maine and 60 percent in Florida).
"Our survey results suggest that many residents of these states are willing to pay real money to make significant progress in emissions reduction along the lines that legislators have been considering," Krosnick said. Enditem