Poll Finds Voters More Receptive to Carbon Tax than to Cap-and-Trade. By Ben Geman, The Hill, December 3, 2009. "A poll released on Tuesday shows stronger voter support for a carbon tax to curb greenhouse gas emissions than a cap-and-trade program. Cap-and-trade is at the heart of House and Senate climate change bills. But the poll commissioned by two groups backing a carbon tax -- the U.S. Climate Task Force and Future 500 -- finds that voters prefer that approach by a wide margin. The Hart Research Associates poll conducted in late August found that 46% favored cap-and-trade while 46% opposed it. Asked about a carbon tax, 57% were in favor while 37% were opposed. The head-to-head battle: Pollsters asked respondents which option they preferred for reducing emissions when the two were compared. The carbon tax won, 58% to 27%.

"But the poll's description of the carbon tax was somewhat sunnier. Here's how they asked the head-to-head question: 'Based on what you know and the descriptions I just read, which approach would you prefer to reducing carbon emissions: (Statement A:) A 'cap and trade' approach that would set an overall limit on carbon emissions produced by companies and businesses and allow companies to buy and sell permits or credits for the carbon emissions they produce, OR (Statement B:) A 'carbon tax' approach that taxes carbon emissions to create an incentive for companies to reduce their carbon emissions and consumers to increase their energy efficiency while also providing a revenue stream for tax refunds to individuals and households to offset the overall impact of the tax.'

"Elaine Kamarck, the co-chair of the U.S. Climate Task Force, highlighted a finding in the poll showing that just two percent of respondents had a 'very positive' view of cap-and-trade. Kamarck worked in the Clinton White House and advised Al Gore's 2000 presidential run. Voters don't appear very familiar with either idea. Nine percent said they knew a lot about cap-and-trade and its pros and cons, 15% said a fair amount. 26% said they knew very little, and 35% had never heard the term. For the carbon tax, 8% said they knew a lot, 18% said a fair amount, 26% said very little, and 31% had never heard of it. The pollsters spoke with 1,002 registered voters, and the margin of error is plus-or-minus 3.2%, according to Hart Research Associates." See Executive Summary of Energy and Climate Change Policy Survey Among American Voters.

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