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It should be expected that people living in states that rely on coal for jobs and to keep the lights on wouldn't like EPA’s proposed carbon regulations. A poll for the National Mining Association gives us some data backing up that intuition.
Magellan Strategies polled eight states that are either significant producers or consumers of coal: Arkansas; Colorado; Georgia; Kentucky; Louisiana; Michigan; Montana; and North Carolina. Three charts sum up Magellan’s findings:
1. More People Oppose the Proposed Carbon Rules than Support Them
In the aggregate, 47% oppose the proposed rules, while only 37% support it. Only one state, Michigan, did support top opposition.
2. When Told Regulations Will Mean Higher Electricity Costs, Opposition Grows
When those surveyed were told that EPA Administrator Gina McCarthy admitted the proposed regulations would result in a “short –term hit” to electricity cost (meaning increases), 59% said they were more likely to oppose it, while only 18% said they’d be more likely to support it.
3. Senate Candidates that Support Carbon Regulations Will Be Hurt
The states that Magellan Strategies polled also have competitive U.S. Senate races. How will the proposed carbon regulations play out in the fall? Those surveyed are more likely to oppose a candidate who supports the proposed carbon regulations. Even in Michigan, where support for the proposed carbon rules tops opposition, nearly half of respondents said they’re more likely to oppose a candidate who supports them.
Here’s one last data point. Seventy-six percent of respondents said they would prefer that President Obama focus more on creating jobs and growing the economy than imposing new regulations on power plants.
This survey tells us that voters aren’t happy with EPA’s attempt to push coal out of the energy picture, and there are serious political risks for politicians who support the agency’s efforts.