Poll: Minorities support regulating pollution

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A new poll of likely minority voters, some in political swing states, shows widespread support for proposed federal regulations limiting greenhouse gas emissions from coal-burning power plants, as well as the need to act on climate change now.

The poll released Monday and timed to coincide with U. S. Environmental Protection Agency public hearings on the ground-breaking greenhouse gas limits later this week in several cities, including Pittsburgh, shows three-quarters of likely minority voters polled say they are paying more attention to climate change issues now than they have in the past. And more than two-thirds think it’s an problem that impacts their life now.

Seventy-five percent of those polled said application of the EPA’s carbon emissions standards, part of the administration’s climate change policy, will spur research and help create jobs, and 70 percent said they would be more likely to support political candidates who will expand efforts to address climate change.

Sixty-two percent of those polled said not enough money has been spent on environmental research and climate change issues.

“Vulnerable communities of color and low-income communities are affected first and are least able to cope with climate change impacts like drought, heat waves, fires, severe storms,” said Nikki Silvestri, executive director of Green for All, the national environmental and economic advocacy organization that commissioned the poll.

“Minority communities are seeing the impacts. And it’s important for those communities to be in the forefront of this issue,” she said. “The polling data shows these minority communities do care.”

The phone poll of 400 African-Americans, 400 Latinos and 100 Asians, all self-described likely voters, was done from June 30 to July 15 in Florida, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, North Carolina, Ohio, Texas, Virginia and California. It was conducted by Brilliant Corners Research & Strategies, a Washington, D.C. pollster, and has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.

“The poll shows that the climate change issue is making its way on to a crowded plate of issues that voters are concerned about,” said Cornell Belcher, founder of Brilliant Corners. “It’s closely tied to economic concerns, yes, but the poll also shows that voters are willing to help candidates working on climate change issues and punish those not focused on those issues in battleground states.”

Don Hopey: dhopey@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1983.

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