ReThink Energy NJ poll shows large majority of NJ voters support stronger action to address climate change

High level of support for 100% clean energy by 2035 at state and federal levels
Published: Oct. 14, 2021 at 4:00 AM AKDT

FAR HILLS, N.J., Oct. 14, 2021 /PRNewswire/ -- An overwhelming majority of New Jersey voters expresses concern over climate change and supports more aggressive goals to achieve 100% clean energy, a new ReThink Energy NJ poll finds.

ReThink Energy NJ Campaign to Promote Awareness and Support for Renewable Energy...
ReThink Energy NJ Campaign to Promote Awareness and Support for Renewable Energy (PRNewsFoto/New Jersey Conservation...)

Over 70% of New Jersey voters polled support achieving 100% clean electricity by 2035 instead of the state's existing goal of 100% by 2050. A broad coalition recently called on New Jersey policymakers to achieve clean energy sooner in light of the increasingly urgent climate crisis.

Asked, "How would you describe your feelings toward the effects of climate change in New Jersey," 73% of voters say they are "very concerned" or "concerned," compared to 27% who say they are "not very" or "not at all concerned."

New Jersey voters also show strong support for an aggressive clean energy target at the federal level: 69% say they support President Biden's call for 100% clean electricity by 2035, compared to 28% who say they oppose it.

The findings come from RENJ's 7th annual "Attitudes on Clean Energy" public opinion survey conducted by the Fairleigh Dickinson University Poll.

"New Jerseyans are experiencing the disastrous effects of climate change, most recently from Hurricane Ida. They understand the need to more swiftly transition to clean, renewable sources of energy to protect lives and property," said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation "Policymakers at the state and federal level must set more ambitious climate targets and not be swayed by fossil fuel industry efforts to slow the move to clean energy."

"Political candidates have sometimes been hesitant about embracing clean energy policies," said Dan Cassino, director of the FDU Poll. "But voters are telling us that they want these policies and may even be punishing candidates who don't push them."

Voters favor renewable energy over more reliance on fossil fuels. For example, when asked if the state should invest more in renewable energy sources like wind and solar, or more in fossil fuels like oil and natural gas, 73% supported investment in renewable sources. Asked which sources are most important to New Jersey's energy future, 57% cite solar or wind, compared to 21% who cite natural gas.

The poll found high receptivity on the part of New Jerseyans to electrification of heating for homes and businesses: 66% say they are aware that the transition to clean energy will require a switch to electric heat for homes and buildings and 61% say they support the move from gas to electric appliances to reduce emissions and fight climate change.

Other key findings from the ReThink Energy NJ poll include:

  • 62% prefer to "invest in renewable energy projects like wind and solar that will create jobs, improve our health by reducing pollution, and ultimately save consumers money," instead of moving forward with gas pipeline projects, to recover from economic damage resulting from COVID-19
  • Three in four (75%) favor the development of wind energy off the coast of New Jersey
  • 81% are concerned about the impacts of constructing gas pipelines in natural areas and wildlife habitats; 79% are concerned about impacts to air and water quality
  • 80% are concerned about big energy companies seizing private property to develop gas pipeline projects
  • 73% support installing solar panels on parking lots, landfills, rooftops and other marginal lands for solar energy, and avoiding using the best farmland and forests for this purpose

ReThink Energy NJ informs and empowers New Jersey citizens and decision-makers to support sensible policies to bring about a swift transition to clean, efficient, renewable energy.

Methodology

The telephone survey of 700 randomly-selected registered voters was conducted by Fairleigh Dickinson Poll for ReThink Energy NJ September 9-18, 2021. The margin of error is +/- 4.5 percentage points at a 95 % confidence interval. A complete description of the survey's methodology, including weighting, question wording, and tables can be found here.

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