Climate strike at the Michigan Capitol, Sept. 20, 2019 | Laina G. Stebbins
New polling has found that a majority of Michigan voters support President Joe Biden’s recently signed federal law that will pour $750 billion into priorities like climate and health care, while even more residents would support Democratic Gov. Gretchen Whitmer securing those funds for energy projects in Michigan.
The Democrats’ Inflation Reduction Act, signed into law on Aug. 16, will funnel $370 billion to clean energy programs over the next few years. Initiatives include electric vehicle tax credits, tax incentives for energy companies to produce renewable energy, reducing pollution in vulnerable communities and more.
According to the left-leaning, San Francisco-based firm Data for Progress (DFP) and Evergreen Collaborative, a left-of-center policy advocacy group founded by former staffers of Washington Gov. Jay Inslee’s 2020 presidential campaign, an average of 64% of Michigan voters support the IRA.
That includes 87% of Democrats, 65% of independents and 42% of Republicans in the state.
In addition to the IRA specifically, respondents were also asked about climate change more broadly and how they hope leaders will respond to the growing threat. This resulted in 66% of Michigan voters saying they are “very” or “somewhat” concerned about climate change.
On opposite ends of the spectrum, 61% of Democratic respondents signaled they are “very” concerned about climate change while most — 30% — of Republican respondents said they are “not at all concerned.”
There was more consistency across party lines with questions regarding clean energy. An average of 66% said they would like to see Michigan produce more energy from renewable sources such as wind and solar power, with half of the Republicans saying as such; and about 61% of the voters said Michigan should be doing more to address air pollution, in the wake of a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision that will limit the federal government’s ability to regulate polluting power plants.
“Clean energy investments are not only critical to Michigan’s economic growth, they’re also extremely popular across party lines,” said Sam Ricketts, co-founder and senior advisor to Evergreen Collaborative. “The Inflation Reduction Act provides a massive opportunity for Michigan leaders to invest in clean energy that will lower costs and create good-paying jobs in communities throughout the state.”
With the IRA now in place, about 71% of Michigan voters — including majorities of Democrats (91%), Independents (72%) and Republicans (52%) — also want Whitmer to fight to secure federal funding for climate and clean energy projects in Michigan.
“Michigan voters strongly support the new Inflation Reduction Act and want to see their elected leaders fully utilize the key climate investments in the law,” said Danielle Deiseroth, lead climate strategist at Data for Progress.
“This new poll shows that climate change is a top-of-mind concern for Michigan residents, and they want to see their elected leaders take action to invest in clean energy. Across the political spectrum, Michigan voters want Gov. Whitmer to aggressively pursue federal funding from the Inflation Reduction Act to invest in Michigan’s future.”
Whitmer, who supports the IRA, has also championed electric vehicle development and other climate change measures like requiring state-owned facilities to use 100% renewable energy by 2025. As one of her first actions as governor, she signed an executive directive adding Michigan in the U.S. Climate Alliance to cut greenhouse gas emissions in accordance with the Paris Agreement. She also has ordered the Line 5 oil pipeline under the Straits of Mackinac to be shuttered and has been fighting Canadian energy company Enbridge in court.
The Democrat is up for reelection Nov. 8 and faces right-wing commentator Tudor Dixon as her Republican challenger. Dixon has stated that she is opposed to the IRA, has slammed Democratic policies for being in line with a “Green New Deal” (which has not passed Congress) and is emphatically supportive of the Line 5 pipeline that environmentalists and tribes in Michigans oppose.
Data for Progress conducted the survey of 701 likely voters in Michigan from July 29 to Aug. 3.
“State leadership will be critical to fully implementing the potential of the Inflation Reduction Act,” Ricketts said. “As the market-setter for the auto manufacturing industry in America, Michigan is poised to lead with major investments in electric vehicle manufacturing and in clean energy production.”
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