WASHINGTON – Most Americans approve of the way President Barack Obama is handling energy issues and support efforts by him and Democrats in Congress to overhaul energy policy – including the controversial cap-and-trade approach to limiting greenhouse gas emissions, according to a Washington Post-ABC News poll.
Even as public support has slipped for Obama’s health care proposals, support for ambitious changes in energy policy has been steady. Although the issue of health care arouses more intense feelings than energy policy does, those who do feel strongly about energy and climate policy tend to tilt toward the administration’s position and a broad majority of people echo Democratic lawmakers’ views on the benefits of proposed changes.
Nearly six in 10 of those polled support the proposed changes to U.S. energy policy being developed by Congress and the administration. Fifty-five percent of Americans approve of the way Obama is handling the issue, compared with 30 percent who do not. A narrower majority, 52 to 43 percent, back a cap-and-trade system; that margin is unchanged since June. A cap-and-trade system would set a ceiling for the nation’s greenhouse gas emissions, and it would allow firms to buy and sell emissions permits.
Despite public support for an energy and climate bill, the prospects for legislation remain uncertain. The House narrowly passed a measure in June, but not before inserting a multitude of provisions for consumers, interest groups and corporations. The Senate remains divided over how to move forward, and getting 60 senators to back an end to debate could be difficult.