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Bucking Trend? Poll Shows Young Republicans Want Renewables

A new survey shows young Republican voters strongly favor renewable energy. (Pixabay)
A new survey shows young Republican voters strongly favor renewable energy. (Pixabay)
September 29, 2016

DES MOINES, Iowa – Young conservatives overwhelmingly feel man made climate change is a real problem, according to a new national poll.

These GOP voters strongly favor renewable energy. The survey of 1,000 Republicans ages 18 to 35 was commissioned by Young Conservatives for Energy Reform.

Four out of five polled think the climate is changing, and two-thirds blame human activity, in part or entirely.

Michele Combs, the group's founder and chair, says these voters put as much importance on climate change as they did on abortion or gay marriage a few years ago.

"The young Republicans embrace this issue,” she states. “They see this issue as a core value issue, that maybe in the '90s would have been the life issue or the marriage issue. They put this issue in that same category."

The GOP platform reflects the view that environmental regulations are slowing growth.

But the poll found young conservatives view the Environmental Protection Agency and environmental groups slightly more favorably than the coal or nuclear industries.

The poll found young conservative voters favor decentralized, market-based solutions, and the renewable energy industry comes across the best of any in the survey.

Combs says support for her group's position has grown quickly since the organization was founded.

"Eight years ago, if you'd have told me we'd have brought over 500 young Republicans, young conservatives, to a clean-energy summit, I'd have been, like, 'You're crazy,’” she states. “’Who are you even going to get there, you know?' And now, we're there from all around the country."

GOP nominee Donald Trump has charged that climate change is a hoax. Combs says she feels Trump is smart enough to eventually see it as a legitimate threat, and in the meantime, the group is putting its energy toward the future rather than this year's race.

"I think this is the future of the party,” she stresses. “The presidential campaign is not what we're focusing on. We're focusing on the grassroots."

Mary Kuhlman, Public News Service - IA