New Gonzales Poll on Climate Change: Maryland Voters Support a 60% Cut in Greenhouse Gas Pollution and a Mandate for All-Electric New Buildings Statewide

ANNAPOLIS – A majority of Maryland voters want strong action on climate change from the General Assembly this year, according to a new Patrick Gonzales poll. The poll shows clear majorities support cutting greenhouse gas emissions 60% by 2030  and voters support a mandate that newly constructed buildings be powered by electric-only energy systems for heating, hot water, and cooking. Democratic voters overwhelmingly support these measures.

“Climate change is clearly on voters’ minds this year,” said Mike Tidwell, director of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network and CCAN Action Fund. “Voters want laws that match the urgency of the climate science. And that means lowering power bills while simultaneously cutting pollution by mandating electric-only new homes and buildings in Maryland.”

Longtime Maryland pollster Patrick Gonzales found that concern about global warming is very high statewide. Sixty eight percent of voters rank fighting climate change as more important or equally important as addressing education, health care, the economy, and COVID-19. Those numbers rise to 84% of Democratic voters, including 91% of African American Dems and 90% of Dems under age 50.

The poll precedes the release of a comprehensive legislative package on climate change soon to be introduced by Senator Paul Pinsky and Delegates Kumar Barve and Dana Stein. The poll dives into two specific policy initiatives embraced by major environmental groups for inclusion in that package. Those issues include 1) cutting climate pollution 60% by 2030 in Maryland and 2) mandating full electrification of all new buildings in Maryland by 2023.

Here are key results:

POLLUTION CUTS: Sixty three percent of voters support a core proposal to cut greenhouse gas pollution 60% by 2030 (below 2006 levels), in line with key scientific recommendations. Those numbers soar to 84% for Democratic voters.

FULL ELECTRIFICATION OF NEW BUILDINGS BY 2023: These results break down more along partisan lines, with 78% of Dem voters believing state legislators should mandate that all new buildings use electric-only energy systems for space-heating, hot water, appliances, and cook stoves. When Republican and Independent voters are added, the majority still holds at 53.4%. This policy was endorsed in November by the bi-partisan Maryland Commission on Climate Change, administered within the Hogan Administration. The Commission found that electric-only systems lower the cost of constructing and operating new buildings compared to oil and gas systems, while significantly lowering emissions. Environmental advocates have proposed 2023 as the start date for this policy.

DEMOCRATIC VOTERS WANT CLEAN ENERGY CANDIDATES: 72% of Democratic voters say they are more likely to vote for candidates who prioritize clean energy policies to combat climate change. Those numbers are different for Republicans, with nearly half (46%) saying clean energy would have no effect on their vote.

See the full poll results here. See a breakdown of Democratic-only voter responses here.

Patrick Gonzales is one of Maryland’s most respected pollsters and a veteran at surveying voters on issues before the Maryland General Assembly. If you have questions about the poll, you can contact Patrick at patrick@gonzalesresearch.com.

This poll was commissioned by the CCAN Action Fund, the political affiliate of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network.

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The CCAN Action Fund is the advocacy arm of the Chesapeake Climate Action Network, the oldest and largest grassroots organization dedicated exclusively to raising awareness about the impacts and solutions associated with global warming in the Chesapeake Bay region. For almost 20 years, CCAN has been at the center of the fight for clean energy and wise climate policy in Maryland, Virginia, West Virginia, and Washington, D.C.

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