New Poll Finds Broad Support for NJ Clean Energy Initiative

Former N.J. governor Jim Florio calling for 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2050.

Former N.J. governor Jim Florio calling for 100 percent renewable energy in the state by 2050. JT Aregood for Observer

A new poll released Thursday found broad public support across partisan lines for enshrining a 2050 deadline for 100 percent renewable energy into law in New Jersey. The state’s League of Conservation Voters, who conducted the poll and decided on the 2050 benchmark with the support of former governors Jim Florio and Christine Todd Whitman, is urging candidates in the state’s 2017 gubernatorial and legislative races to emphasize environmental issues during their campaigns.

The survey, which was conducted between newly sworn in President Donald Trump between his electoral win and the inauguration, found a majority of Republicans, Democrats and independents support the clean energy goal.

“Overall, 70 percent of respondents support the clean energy goal, compared with 15 percent, who do not,” read a statement from the group. “By party affiliation, 82% of registered Democrats, 68% of unaffiliated voters, and 54% of Republicans support the goal, as do 86% of Hillary Clinton supporters and 51% of Donald Trump voters.”

The poll was conducted among roughly 1,000 respondents and has a roughly 3 percent margin of error.

The results, said the group’s Ed Potosnak, show a concern for changes in environmental policy that could be crowded out of the debates between Democratic frontrunner Phil Murphy, Republicans Jack Ciattarelli and Kim Guadagno, and Murphy’s primary challengers.

“This is a big election year in New Jersey, with an open seat gubernatorial election and every member of the State Senate and Assembly up for election. The results of this poll clearly show that the environment will be on the ballot. Moving to 100% clean energy is important to New Jersey residents of every political affiliation,” Potosnak said.

“New Jersey families understand that the energy we use needs to come from clean sources like solar and wind, and that continuing with fossil fuels is not sustainable for our health or the conserving our environment.”

The poll results show that New Jersey voters may be sympathetic to Florio and Whitman’s call earlier this month to contravene new federal environmental deregulation at the state level. A majority supported policies that acknowledge the existence of climate change. A bipartisan majority also support maintaining public drinking water infrastructure.

“Voters overwhelmingly believe that the local, state, and federal governments should be doing more to address climate change (64% believe they should be doing more, including 51% who say they should be doing much more),” the group wrote.

“Voters are willing to do their part to protect the environment: A strong majority of New Jerseyans would be willing to pay an additional $20 to $30 per year in taxes to protect the sources of their drinking water (77% support, including 61% who strongly support). This majority extends across party lines, with strong numbers among both Clinton voters (86% support) and Trump voters (72% support).”

New Poll Finds Broad Support for NJ Clean Energy Initiative