Trump’s Attacks On Fracking And Climate Change Boosts Joe Biden’s Standing In Pennsylvania

Washington, D.C. – Today, Climate Power 2020 released a new poll, conducted by Global Strategy Group, that found Pennsylvania voters favor Joe Biden over Donald Trump, and that Trump’s constant lies and attacks on climate change and fracking only boosts Biden’s lead in the state.

According to the survey, Biden leads Trump by a margin of 8 percentage points (50%/42%). Notably, that advantage increases to a 15-point lead when the debate is centered around fracking, clean energy, and climate change — dispelling the conventional belief that a focus on fracking will pull down support for Democrats and Biden in the state.

“The conventional wisdom about Pennsylvania voters and fracking is wrong,” said Lori Lodes, Executive Director of Climate Power 2020. “Pennsylvania voters believe climate change is a serious problem and are ready for lawmakers to take action. Trump’s lies and made-up attacks on climate change are backfiring in a state he must win to hold on to his presidency.”

A key finding from the poll is that keystone state voters, including those in Southwestern Pennsylvania, strongly support bold action on climate change, investments in clean energy infrastructure, and stronger regulations on the fracking industry. By a 61-30 margin, voters in the Pittsburgh DMA support placing stronger regulations on oil and gas fracking, such as increasing the minimum distance between fracking sites and homes and requiring the disclosure of all chemicals used in fracking.

“Voters across Pennsylvania want bold action on climate change,” said Rep. Malcolm Kenyatta. “Transformational investments in clean energy will create jobs and give our economy the boost it needs right now. People have had enough of President Trump’s COVID and climate denialism, and they are not falling for the false attacks on Joe Biden’s bold climate plan.” 

Both Biden and Trump will campaign in the battleground state this week. Biden is heading to the Pittsburgh area on Monday, while Trump will visit Latrobe on Thursday. 

A complete memo on the poll can be found here.

Global Strategy Group conducted the online, voter file-matched survey of 801 registered voters in Pennsylvania between August 13-19, 2020. Care has been taken to ensure the sample matches the demographic, geographic, and partisan breakdown of the registered voter electorate. The confidence interval for this survey is +/- 3.5%. 

Debate Over Climate Change, Fracking, and Clean Energy Grows Biden’s Lead, Favorability in Pennsylvania

  • The survey found Joe Biden has a strong base of support in the battleground state, currently holding an 8-point lead over Donald Trump (50-42). However, the more energy, climate action, and fracking messages are heard by voters, Biden’s lead increases to a 12-point advantage.
  • In addition, Biden’s favorability rating increased from +4 (50-46) to +15 (56-41) when voters were presented with Biden’s plan on clean energy.
  • The message presented to voters in the survey closely mirrors the frequent attacks leveled against Biden’s plan for clean energy investments, including negative messaging on the Green New Deal and socialism, and false claims that Biden’s plan will cost Pennsylvania 600,000 jobs.

Voters Across Pennsylvania Are Pro Climate and Pro-Clean Energy

  • While support for pro-climate and pro-clean energy policies, as well as regulations on fracking, is higher in Southeastern Pennsylvania, support is strong across the state.
  • Notably, support for these policies in the Pittsburgh area is significant. 
    • By a 12-point margin (56-44), voters in the Pittsburgh area prefer making investments in renewable energy over supporting oil and gas companies to help the state’s and country’s economy recover.
    • Pittsburgh voters also support stronger regulations on fracking by a 38-point margin (64-26) and support remains high when specific regulations are listed such as increasing the minimum distance between fracking sites and homes and requiring the disclosure of all chemicals used in fracking (64-26).

Pennsylvania Voters Understand the Impact Fracking Has on Climate Change and the Health of Their State

  • The Trump campaign has made fracking the centerpiece of its false attacks on Biden’s climate plan, but these appeals appear to be falling flat with voters.
  • 71% are generally supportive of environmental and emissions-reducing regulations.
  • While voters support the natural gas industry (61% fav/23% unfav) they do not look favorably on fracking (32% fav/50% unfav).
  • As a result, Pennsylvania voters support stronger regulations on oil and gas fracking (+43), and when given further details around what that could consist of, the support for increased regulations goes up to +58.
  • Pennsylvania voters also support phasing out fracking by 2050 (+38) and phasing out new fracking permits on public lands/waters (+32).

Pennsylvania Voters Strongly Support Bold Action on Climate 

  • Voters believe that climate change is a serious problem and they want the government to take bold action to combat the climate crisis. 
    • An overwhelming majority (83%) of Pennsylvania voters believe climate change is a serious problem – with 46% going as far as saying it is a very serious problem.
  • Pennsylvania voters want leaders who are committed to taking action on climate change and investing in renewable energy to help the state’s and country’s economy recover.
    • 73% say they support the U.S. government taking strong action to combat climate change.
    • 74% support transitioning the country to 100% clean electricity by 2035 and 73% support a clean energy economy by 2050.
    • 71% favor investing $2 trillion over the next four years to build clean energy infrastructure.
    • Voters support investments in clean energy rather than subsidies and tax breaks for oil and gas companies by a 20-point margin.