The Insiders: Democrats’ lost momentum on climate change

As I said last week, fewer Americans view global warming as a “very serious problem” today than just six months ago. In October, 39 percent of Americans viewed global warming as a very serious problem, compared with 33 percent who believe that to be true today.  Carter is the pollster, but by my back-of-the-envelope math, if you exclude partisan Democrats who will follow President Obama on everything, you’re left with about 25 percent of Americans who think that global warming is a very serious problem.

Even worse for Carter and the Democrats who are hoping to make real progress in the 2014 elections, the Huffington Post/YouGov poll conducted the week that Hurricane Sandy hit asked the question, “If it meant we could stop climate change, would you personally be willing to pay 50 percent more on your gas and electricity bills?”  54 percent of respondents — a clear majority — said that they would not be willing (including 52.5 percent of independents and 80 percent of Republicans). Only 21 percent said they would be willing to pay more.

So even when using a question that leads those polled to think they could “stop climate change” once and for all, a majority of Americans still says no to paying more out of pocket to do so.  Again, I would defer to Carter, but it seems that those most likely to vote in the 2014 elections would be heavily against the increased costs that the Democrats favor, even for doing even less than “stopping climate change.”

Higher energy prices and the Democrats’ pointless follies on global warming, when combined with our fragile, discouraging economy, means that climate change is probably leaving the stage as a political issue — just as President Obama is trying to gather momentum for a major push. It’ll be interesting to see whether the White House gracefully goes quiet on the issue.

The Democrats are increasingly preaching to the choir about climate change, partially because of the state of the economy but also because of the hypocrisy that surrounds the issue.  People notice that those who preach the loudest seem disproportionately to fly in private jets, sleep in mansions, float on yachts and otherwise lifestyles that produce high levels of carbon emissions — the occasional pious Prius puttering along in Hollywood or elsewhere notwithstanding.

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