Augusta, Maine – Today, the Natural Resources Council of Maine (NRCM) released the results of a public opinion survey on the attitudes of likely Maine voters on a range of environmental and energy issues. The survey was completed in April by the Portland-based research firm Critical Insights. The results are being sent to more than 300 lawmakers and candidates running for office.
With Mainers heading to the polls in two weeks for the June 12 primaries, the survey shows that Maine voters statewide are concerned about the impacts of global warming and strongly support energy efficiency and clean energy policies to address the problem. The survey also shows broad-based bipartisan support for the Land for Maine’s Future program and Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument.
“This poll confirms that Mainers want their elected representatives to protect our air, land, waters, and climate,” says NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. “The results show that solar energy and other forms of clean renewable power, land conservation and public lands, and actions to address climate change are winning issues in the eyes of Maine voters. In fact, these issues appear to be more popular than ever, in all parts of Maine and with all types of Mainers, including Democrats, Republicans, and Independents alike. We urge candidates to discuss these issues in their campaigns because it appears that voters are ready to support the ones who do.”
Support for Action to Address Climate Change & Increase Clean Energy
The survey shows widespread support for legislative action to address climate change, with three out of four voters (77%) supporting action by the next governor and Legislature to reduce global warming pollution by 40% by the year 2030.
A full 66% said that they would be more likely to support a candidate for governor who puts forward an ambitious plan to reduce our dependence on fossil fuels, increase energy efficiency, and create clean energy jobs as a strategy for addressing the impacts of climate change.
Strong majorities of voters support a variety of policy proposals to improve energy efficiency and promote clean energy. Specifically, the survey shows that:
- 86% support efforts to expand energy efficiency for Maine homeowners, businesses, and industry;
- 86% support efforts to promote the use of solar power by homes, businesses, and municipalities;
- 83% support policies to increase the share of Maine’s electricity that comes from local renewable energy resources like wind and solar;
- 72% support efforts to promote a new offshore wind industry for Maine; and
- 69% support policies that would encourage Mainers to purchase more fuel-efficient cars and trucks, including electric vehicles.
Concern about Global Warming Impacts
The survey shows that most Maine voters (57%) think global warming will harm Maine within the next ten years; including 44% who say that global warming already is having a negative impact. A full 79% of Mainers believe that global warming will have harmful impacts on Maine at some point; 10% believe that global warming will never have harmful impacts on Maine.
- 23% say global warming will cause a “great deal” of harm to Mainers in the next 10 years, with an additional 38% believing it will cause a “moderate” amount of harm within 10 years—for a net of 61%;
- 84% are concerned about the spread of insect-borne diseases like Lyme disease, as a result of global warming;
- 80% are concerned about more frequent and damaging storms that wash out roads, flood property, or damage power lines;
- 78% are concerned about the effects of global warming on lobster populations, which would hurt Maine’s lobster industry;
- 76% are concerned about habitat loss from global warming, for species such as moose, chickadees, and brook trout; and
- 73% are concerned about the impact of rising sea levels and increasing storm surge on our coasts, damaging property and roads.
Strong Support for Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument
The survey shows that 80% of Maine voters support the Katahdin Woods & Waters National Monument, compared with only 11% who oppose. Support for the Monument has increased over time. When the same question was asked by Critical Insights in an October 2016 survey, 72% of voters supported the Monument and 22% opposed. Katahdin Woods & Waters was established on August 24, 2016.
Support for Land for Maine’s Future
The Land for Maine’s Future (LMF) land conservation program continues to be highly popular. Despite attacks on the program by Governor LePage, support for the program by Maine voters has increased compared with 2016. In the current survey, 83% of voters said they support the Maine Legislature providing additional funding for LMF next year, with 54% of voters strongly supporting LMF funding. In October 2016, Critical Insights asked the same question and found 80% voter support for LMF, with 53% expressing strong support. Opposition to LMF has dropped from 15% of Maine voters in the October 2016 survey, to only 11% in the April 2018 survey.
Every demographic subgroup within the survey strongly supports LMF, with some of the highest levels of support among those ages 35-44 (92%), women (88%), those with children in the household (86%), and those with household income in the range of $35k to $50k (86%). Voters in Congressional District 1 support LMF at the 84% level, and voters in Congressional District 2 at the 82% level.
The survey was conducted by Critical Insights in March and April 2018. Data was gathered from 619 interviews with a statistically representative cross-section of self-reported registered voters, via both landline and mobile phone. The results have an associated margin of error of ±3.9 percentage points at the 95% confidence level.
Spring 2018 Survey Additional Resources:
For further information about the survey, contact:
Phone: (207) 985-7660