The Institute for Energy Research is a not-for-profit organization that conducts intensive research and analysis on the functions, operations, and government regulation of global energy markets.

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July 16, 2013

IER Survey Finds Broad-Based Opposition to Carbon Tax

July 16, 2013
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WASHINGTON — A survey released today by the Institute for Energy Research indicates that a strong majority of registered American voters oppose a carbon tax, while barely more than one-third of voters favor it. Among those surveyed, half are less likely to vote for a Member of Congress if he/she supports a carbon tax. Any effort to focus on issues other than the economy will be seen as a distraction or diversion, according to survey respondents.

“National leaders who support a carbon tax do so at their own peril,” IER President Thomas Pyle said of the poll results. “Americans don’t buy the argument that a carbon tax will be used to help the environment or that businesses will just swallow the costs. Common sense and experience leads the public to conclude that a carbon tax will only lead to more spending, more deficits and more harm to the U.S. economy.”

Other key survey findings include:

  • When asked to name the more important priority, 79 percent of voters say lawmakers should focus more on the economy, while just 17 percent say the focus should be on the environment.
  • Opposition to a carbon tax is higher among low- and middle-income Americans who would pay more disproportionately for the new tax. When asked how much more they would be willing to pay for a carbon tax, half of all respondents would not pay a single cent.
  • A carbon tax is unlikely to change behavior, as 61 percent of survey respondents said they will continue to use the same amounts of energy/gasoline even with the tax, despite the fact that they are already spending disproportionately on household energy compared to other expenditures.
  • A majority of rural voters (54 percent) and seniors (51 percent) are less likely to support candidates who support a carbon tax.
  • An overwhelming majority (91 percent) of Americans believe that companies will pass the increased costs of a carbon tax on to consumers, while only 6 percent believe the companies will absorb the costs.
  • Nearly three-fourths (73 percent) of voters believe that money from a carbon tax would be used to fund new government spending.
  • Two thirds (64 percent) of respondents believe that energy costs are already too high compared to other goods and services.
  • 70 percent of African Americans, 61 percent of Hispanics, and 63 percent of female voters believe energy costs are too high.

The survey was conducted for the Institute for Energy Research by The Tarrance Group. The national survey of 800 registered voters was conducted via landline and cellular telephone by live telephone interviewers July 7-11, 2013. The margin of error is +/- 3.5 percent.

To read the full results of the survey, click here.

To read the accompanying memorandum detailing the survey findings, click here.

To read today’s report from The Hill newspaper on the survey and other components of IER’s anti-carbon tax efforts, click here.

To view IER’s just-released video exposing the fallacies of a carbon tax, click here.

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