A couple of new Pew Research national polls (Sept. 26 and Nov. 1, 2013) show that the policy conundrum exists for extreme elements of both parties. Democrats have to deal with their environmental wing, which commands money (billionaires and millions in contributions) and publicity (movie stars), who promote the most extreme versions of cap and trade and want the Keystone Pipeline permanently stopped.
For these activists, hydrocarbons are an evil and there is not bridge to renewables, such as natural gas. They are not interested in bridges. They want punitive measures now against coal and the new issue du jour, “fracking.”
And while 84 percent of Democratic Party adherents sign off on “solid evidence the earth is warming,” only 43 percent oppose construction of the pipeline and a majority (51%) favor building it.
But, the Republican Party also faces internal divisions on energy beliefs and policy outcomes. Although only 46 percent of the party believes in global warming, there is a significant split between the Tea Party adherents of whom only a quarter (25%) accept the notion vs. 61 percent of non-Tea Party Republicans. The party is united in support for building the pipeline (82%).