Poll: Environmental issues front and center for Pa. voters in 2022 | Friday Morning Coffee

Democrats who back methane and carbon limits get a bounce over Republicans who don’t

August 19, 2022 7:18 am
A spiking thermometer against a bright sky and hot sun

(Getty Images/The Arizona Mirror).

Good Friday Morning, Fellow Seekers.

You don’t have to look far these days to find evidence that climate change is hitting Americans right where they live. From flash flooding in the upper midwest to the wildfires that are reshaping California and the American west, scientists agree that climate change is driving the incidence of extreme weather.

And as a new poll makes clear, concerns about climate change are top of mind for Pennsylvania voters as the 2022 midterms approach. And voters say they are more likely to support state lawmakers who back limits on methane and carbon emissions.

Sixty-two percent of respondents to the Global Strategy Group poll commissioned by the political arms of the Environmental Defense Fund and the Natural Resources Defense Council say state lawmakers should “make reducing air pollution a priority,” and an equal number believe the state needs more rules to protect the commonwealth’s air and water from oil and gas pollution.

As a refresher, all 203-members of the state House and half the 50-member state Senate are up for re-election this fall. Republicans who control both chambers, with the support of the industry, generally have resisted the Democratic Wolf administration’s efforts to rein in emissions.

But a majority (56 percent) of the poll’s 1,200 likely voter respondents agreed with the premise that “rules to cut oil and gas pollution will create new jobs in manufacturing and in the field inspecting and fixing leaks.”

Independent voters joined Democrats in agreeing with that premise — particularly in the Philadelphia suburbs which are less impacted by oil and gas exploration, but whose eco-friendly, overwhelmingly blue voters tend to turn out in strength during election years. Notably, however, voters in the Pittsburgh region, which is ground zero for natural gas exploration, also support that thesis, the poll showed.

The poll “makes it abundantly clear that voters recognize the importance of addressing climate change and would be more likely to vote for elected officials that will actually take action,” Mandy Warner, the Pennsylvania director for EDF Action, said in a statement. “A substantial majority of Pennsylvania voters are supportive of both carbon and methane emissions proposals and are eager to support the candidate that favors climate action.”

(Source: Global Strategy Group poll)
(Source: Global Strategy Group poll)

With a midterm environment that’s generally unfavorable for them, the poll is a dose of good news for Pennsylvania Democrats who are looking to flip the state House and pick up seats in the state Senate.

A little more than two months out from Election Day, the state’s generic ballot for the General Assembly is tied at 46 percent apiece for Democrats and Republicans, according to pollsters.

A generic Democrat who supports limits on carbon emission gets a 10-point bounce (51-41 percent) over a Republican who opposes them; while a generic Democrat who supports reducing methane emissions from oil and gas exploration gets an 8-point bounce (50-42 percent) over a Republican who opposes them, the poll showed.

In the closely watched race for governor, Democrat Josh Shapiro, the current state attorney general, leads Republican Doug Mastriano, a state senator, 50-42 percent. And in the fight for the U.S. Senate Democratic Lt. Gov John Fetterman leads Republican celebrity physician Mehmet Oz 49-37 percent.

“Pennsylvanians support clean air and climate action and are looking for leaders who will make progress on these issues,” Jackson Morris, the senior advisor for the NRDC Action Fund, said in a statement. “Candidates who support efforts to cut dangerous carbon and methane pollution will rightfully be rewarded for prioritizing the health of our citizens and communities over big industry polluters’ profits.”

The poll, conducted from July 14-19, had a margin of error of 2.9 percent.

Republican gubernatorial nominee Doug Mastriano (City & State photo by Justin Sweitzer).

Our Stuff.
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano’s education funding plan would devastate Pennsylvania’s public schools, advocates say. Peter Hall has the story.

Jewish and Democratic leaders in Florida urged Sunshine State Gov. Ron DeSantis to cancel his appearance Friday in Pittsburgh where he is set to campaign for Mastriano, Peter Hall also reports.

Federal public health officials said Thursday they are working with state and local health departments to boost messaging and vaccinations for those most likely to contract monkeypox, including at large-scale events. Capital-Star Washington Reporter Jennifer Shutt and Cassie Miller have the story.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa.was set to barnstorm the Iowa State Fair on Thursday to build support for a constitutional convention, Robin Opsahl, of our sibling site, the Iowa Capital Dispatch reports. 

En la Estrella-Capital: Los funcionarios estatales alientan a los residentes de Pensilvania para servir como trabajadores electorales antes de las elecciones de noviembre. Veinte estados, incluyendo a Pensilvania, se unen a la oposición de la demanda de Texas sobre la atención del aborto de emergencia.

On our Commentary Page this morning: A new federal law providing health care to burn pit victims ends a decades-old injustice, a Virginia Tech scholar writes. And the merger of agri-titans Sanderson Farms and Cargill is a bad deal for farmers and consumers, advocate Tim Gibbons writes in an op-Ed first published by our sibling site, the Missouri Independent.

Monkeypox virus, illustration (Getty Images)

Philadelphia’s Black residents are at greater risk for monkeypox, but do not have equal access to vaccines, the Inquirer reports.

The Post-Gazette previews today’s Steel City rally for Republican governor candidate Doug Mastrianofeaturing Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis.

A federal judge has blocked DeSantis’ ‘Stop-WOKE’ law dealing with workplace training around race, finding its policies ‘bordering on unintelligible,’ and in violation of the First Amendment, Politico reports. DeSantis is sure to appeal, the news org notes.

A new ad by Democratic governor candidate Josh Shapiro claims Mastriano hired ‘alt-right extremists’ after a payment to the right-wing social media site Gab, the Bucks County Courier Times reports (via GoErie).

Mastriano turned down a debate invite from LancasterOnline, dismissing its staff as ‘left wing hacks,’ PoliticsPA reports.

Trump loyalist Steve Bannon called Democratic U.S. Senate candidate John Fetterman ‘Satanic,’ PennLive reports. It’s going over about as well as you might expect.

Fetterman’s Republican rival, Mehmet Ozbarnstormed in Luzerne County on Thursday. The Citizens’ Voice has the details (paywall).

New internal polls show a tight race for northeastern Pennsylvania’s 8th Congressional District, where Democratic incumbent U.S. Rep. Matt Cartwright faces a rematch with Republican Jim BognetCity & State Pa. reports.

The FBI issued subpoenas to several Pennsylvania lawmakers — the reasons for it are still unclearWITF-FM reports.

Lancaster County’s prison board has rejected a proposal to divert less money from inmate purchases to the county’s general fund, LancasterOnline reports.

The Morning Call has five things to know about the future of passenger rail in the Lehigh Valley.

Philadelphia has launched a new tool to connect residents with free and low-cost healthcare providersWHYY-FM reports.

Here’s your #Pennsylvania Instagram of the Day:

What Goes On
10:30 a.m.: State Education Department officials tour Harrisburg Area Community College to tout higher education money in this year’s state budget.

What Goes On (Nakedly Political Edition)
Republican gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano holds a  4 p.m. reception (presumably in Pittsburgh – you have to RSVP to find out). Admission runs $2,500 and $10,000. House Minority Leader Joanna McClinton, D-Philadelphia, holds a 5 p.m. reception at Bartram’s Garden in Philadelphia. Admission runs $75 to $5,000. And state Rep. Regina Young, D-Philadelphia, holds a 5:30 p.m. reception at ROAR in Philadelphia. Admission there runs $50 to $1,000.

As of this writing, Gov. Tom Wolf has no public schedule today.

You Say It’s Your Birthday Dept
Speaking of Joanna McClinton: Birthday wishes go out to the Democratic leader this morning, as she completes another trip around the sun. Congratulations.

Heavy Rotation
We’ll go out this week with one from Death Cab for Cutie. Here’s ‘Here to Forever.’

Friday’s Gratuitous Soccer Link
It’s Friday, and that means The Guardian has its list of the top 10 things to watch for in this weekend’s round of Premier League action. Notably, Arsenal will be seeking its third straight win as it faces off against newly promoted Bournemouth on Saturday.

And now you’re up to date.

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John L. Micek

A three-decade veteran of the news business, John L. Micek is the Pennsylvania Capital-Star's former Editor-in-Chief.