Polls: House Members Gained Strength by Supporting Climate Bill

After the House of Representatives passed the American Clean Energy and Security Act in June, well-funded opposition groups went on the attack against members who voted for it.  In addition to negative TV ads, there was lots of well-publicized screaming at town hall meetings.  The conventional wisdom was that supporting the clean energy bill was a politically perilous move.

We decided to find out if that was true, and asked Hart Research to conduct some polls.

We picked three members of Congress who voted for the bill and would, according to the theory, be most likely to be hurt by the vote:  Rep. Heath Shuler,  a conservative “Blue Dog” from North Carolina; Rep. Baron Hill, a coal state moderate from southern Indiana; and Rep. Tom Perriello of Virginia, a freshman member who had the closest race in the nation in 2008.  All three are from districts won by John McCain.

The results?

All three are politically stronger for having supported the clean energy bill and its cap on carbon pollution.  By margins of 3:2 or greater, their constituents said they feel more favorably about their congressman because of his “yes” vote.  Apparently Americans like less imported oil, less pollution, and more clean energy jobs.

So, Senators take note: Clean Energy: 3, Scare Tactics: 0.

Here are more details on the polls [PPT].

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