Despite the Democratic Party’s push for progressive environmental policies like the Green New Deal, climate change was not foremost on the minds of most voters this election cycle, according to recent polling from the Associated Press.
The polling, performed by NORC at the University of Chicago, shows that just single-digit percentages of voters across multiple states considered climate to be among their top issues. The economy and jobs as well as healthcare were among the top issues as people cast their ballots.
In Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina just 3 percent of voters ranked climate as important; 5 percent in New York and Minnesota; and 6 percent in Massachusetts.
“Americans clearly rejected the policies of the progressive left with respect to energy policy and any attempt to transform America into a socialist country,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance.
Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s handling of the energy issue, particularly fracking, has created headaches for his party in energy-rich states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. In New Mexico, Rep. Xochitl Torres Small appears to have been a victim of Green New Deal politics, losing her seat to GOP challenger Yvette Herrell.
Torres Small tried to distance herself from the top of the ticket. When Biden said during the October 22 presidential debate that “I would transition from the oil industry,” she tweeted her opposition.
“I disagree with VP Biden’s statement tonight. Energy is part of the backbone of New Mexico’s economy,” she said. “I will continue to stand up to my party when they’re out of touch with the reality on the ground in #NM02.”
In the battleground and yet-unresolved Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry supports more than 300,000 jobs.
“Look what Democrats did to the coal industry,” says Steve Moore, co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. “They don’t care about working class people. They care about the Green New Deal. People think it’s just rhetoric from Democrats but they are ideological. This crusade against oil and gas is a religion.”
According to the American Energy Alliance, fracking technology has made the U.S. the top oil and natural gas producer in the world.
At various stages of their campaigns, Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris advocated banning fracking either just on federal lands or entirely on public and private property, which would reduce household incomes by $5,400 annually and increase energy costs by more than $600 per year.
Such a ban, which could cost up to 7.5 million jobs in 2022, would result in the U.S. importing more than 40 percent of oil and petroleum needs by 2030 in addition to importing natural gas, despite the abundance of the resource here.
“The impact of the bans on top of the losses experienced due to the coronavirus lockdown would be devastating to Americans and the U.S. economy, while decreasing national energy security and lessening our influence in energy markets throughout the world,” the Alliance wrote in a blog post last month titled “The Insane Cost of Biden’s Fracking Ban.”
Following the election, the group noted that voters rejected candidates “seeking to dismantle newfound American energy independence.”
Despite the presidential and a number of U.S. Senate and House races still undetermined, the recriminations for national Democrats’ lackluster performance have been fierce, with one unnamed Democratic House member telling Politico that the election was “a dumpster fire.”
In addition to Torres Small, Democratic Rep. Kendra Suzanne Horn lost her Oklahoma House seat. Pennsylvania Rep. Connor Lamb and California Rep. T.J. Cox remain locked in tight battles.
Throughout the campaign, Biden called climate change “the number one issue facing humanity.”
“If he does become President, Biden may want to pay attention to the New York Times election exit polls that indicated voters don’t place a high priority on the generic climate issue — no exit poll result made it out of single digits,” said Steve Milloy, founder of JunkScience.com.
“If voters knew that Biden intended to raise taxes and the cost of energy dramatically to pay for an issue they don’t prioritize, those single digits would be zero.”