Nearly eight in 10 likely Florida voters want limits on power-plants’ carbon pollution and as many as 71 percent say they’re concerned about climate change, according to a new poll conducted for an environmental group during the hotly contested governor’s race.
“The takeaway from this poll is simple: People think carbon pollution is a problem, and they think our political leaders should take action and fight pollution,” said Susan Glickman, a spokeswoman for the Natural Resources Defense Council, which chartered the 1,005-likely voter poll by SurveyUSA.
The survey’s timing has both a policy and political dynamic:
* It gauges voter sentiment on a range of environmental issues, including opinions about a draft U.S. Environmental Protection Agency rule limiting carbon emissions, which the poll says 59 percent strongly favor.
* It’s an election year in which Republican Gov. Rick Scott faces former Gov. Charlie Crist, a believer in man-made climate change due to carbon emissions. A separate SurveyUSA poll this week indicated Crist leads by as much as 5 percentage points, but a Quinnipiac University survey at the same time found the race essentially tied.
Scott, who once said he didn’t believe in anthropogenic climate change, now won’t comment on the matter, saying only that “I’m not a scientist.”
In response, a group of climate scientists asked to personally meet with Scott. After initially demurring, Scott said through spokespeople that he’d soon meet with the researchers himself. No date has been set.
Crist met with one of the climate scientists, FSU oceanography professor Jeff Chanton, at the Florida Press Center Friday in Tallahassee.
Scott’s campaign called it a “publicity stunt,” and Crist supporters say Scott is hiding from the issue.
The NRDC poll, however, doesn’t specifically address a core political controversy over climate change – whether voters believe it’s driven by man-made carbon emissions.