New Poll Shows Overwhelming Public Support for Stricter Smog Standards, Despite Millions Spent by Opposition
(September 9, 2015) - Washington, DC
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Voters across the country overwhelmingly support the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) updating standards to place stricter limits on smog pollution in the air they breathe, according to data released today from a nationwide survey conducted for the American Lung Association. Despite a multi-million dollar industry advertising campaign opposing stricter standards, voter support for stricter smog standards is stronger now than it was in a November 2014 poll.
An overwhelming 73 percent of voters support the EPA placing stricter limits on the amount of smog that power plants, oil refineries and other industrial facilities can release.
“Millions of Americans are breathing polluted air and suffering from asthma attacks, increased risk of respiratory infections, and even premature death,” said Harold P. Wimmer, National President and CEO of the American Lung Association. “Of course American voters overwhelmingly support continued steps to protect our health from the dangers of smog pollution.
Furthermore, enthusiasm for stronger ozone pollution standards has grown since last November, with voter support for stricter limits up from 68 to 73 percent. The percentage of those who strongly favor the proposal also increased in this time period. Support for tougher standards spanned across demographics, party lines, and geographic location.
“Opponents have spent millions of dollars attacking health-based ozone standards. Our poll shows that the public does not buy the polluters’ misleading rhetoric. Instead, support for clean air standards has grown stronger. We ask that President Obama and EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy follow the science and protect public health by finalizing a strong ozone standard into law. Americans want leaders who will protect our health and see through a high dollar advertising blitz by polluters,” said Wimmer.
Support for the new standards remained high, by an overwhelming 2-1 margin, after voters heard simulated arguments that included balanced messages from both sides of the issue. The messages also included attacks from opponents predicting the negative consequences for energy costs and jobs.
“Voters demonstrated overwhelming support for stricter smog standards, even after hearing balanced arguments from both sides,” said Missy Egelsky Vice President at Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research. “It is clear that voters believe we don’t have to choose between the health of our communities and the economy."
Key poll findings include:
- Nearly 7 out of 10 voters want the EPA to update standards to limit air pollution.
- A majority of voters across partisan lines support stricter limits on smog, with 73 percent of registered voters supporting stricter limits on smog, including:
- 90 percent of Democrats, 84 percent of Independents and 52 percent of Republicans, who favored stricter limits
- Strong (more than 7 in 10 voters) support for stricter limits was found in every part of the country.
- After the voters were given both sides of the argument, support for stricter limits remained strong (with 66 percent in favor of and 32 percent opposed to updating the standard).
EPA is set to finalize the ozone standard on or before October 1, 2015.
The analysis memo, slide deck and poll questions from Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research can be found online here.
Methodology: This survey was conducted for the American Lung Association by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research during August 20 - 23, 2015. The firm conducted a survey of 871 registered voters via live interviews, with 50 percent of respondents reached on a cell phone. The margin of error for the full national sample is 3.32 percent.
About the American Lung Association
The American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease, through research, education and advocacy. The work of the American Lung Association is focused on four strategic imperatives: to defeat lung cancer; to improve the air we breathe; to reduce the burden of lung disease on individuals and their families; and to eliminate tobacco use and tobacco-related diseases. For more information about the American Lung Association, a holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) or visit: Lung.org.
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1-800-LUNGUSA (1-800-586-4872) Lung.org