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New Poll Cleverly Conflates Climate Change, Drought, Wildfires, Oil and Gas Industry

A new poll by the Public Policy Institute of California goes cleverly conflate climate change, drought, wildfires and the oil and gas industry through dextrous questions and weighted demographics.

Here’s the PPIC’s opening salvo:

“With California facing a severe drought and wildfire season, public awareness has risen of the impact of climate change as well as state policies to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. A sharp increase in petroleum prices has led to discussions about expanding oil production and renewable energy sources.”

In one sentence, the PPIC asserts that because of the severe drought and current wildfires, climate change awareness is more prevalent. And just the placement of the second sentence, makes it appear to imply costly oil and gas prices are causing the state to turn to renewable energy.

Very clever.

The PPIC also asked about “increased rising sea levels,” and “heat waves that are more severe,” “droughts that are more severe,” and “wildfires that are more severe.”

Interestingly, they also asked about “government officials discussing other ways to deal with climate change:”

Q: Governor Newsom’s executive order banning the sale of all new gasoline-powered vehicles by 2035? Do you favor or oppose this proposal?

48% favor
50% oppose
2% don’t know

Q: Governor Newsom’s plan that would ban the issuance of new hydraulic fracturing —or “fracking”—permits in California starting in 2024? Do you favor oppose this proposal?

59% favor
38% oppose
3% don’t know

However, looking at the survey methods and questions reveals even more.

The PPIC spoke with 1,648 California adult residents. Of those:

703 were registered Democrats

354 were registered Republicans

342 were No Party Preference

Of the 1,648 California adults questioned:

401 were in Los Angeles

306 were in the Central Valley

193 were in the Inland Empire

256 were in Orange County and San Diego

325 were in San Francisco Bay Area

Of the 1,648 California adults questioned:

792 were male

856 were female

Of the 1,648 California adults questioned:

138 were African American

191 were Asian American

409 were Latino

844 were white

Of the 1,648 California adults questioned:

338 make less than $40,000 annually

412 make between $40,000 and $79,999

836 make more than $80,000

Results: More Democrats, Los Angeles and San Francisco were dominant, the majority of California adults questioned were white, and a significantly higher number of those questioned make more than $80,000 annually.

Participants were asked:

  • In thinking about the California governor’s election in November, how important to you are the candidates’ positions on the environment in determining your vote?
  • Regardless of your choice in the 2022 election for US House of Representatives, which of these candidates would do a better job handling environmental issues in the U.S.: [rotate] the Republican candidate in your district or the Democratic candidate in your district?
  • Do you think climate change has contributed to California’s current drought or not? (why didn’t the PPIC ask “what do you think has contributed to California’s current drought?)
  • Do you think that climate change has contributed to California’s recent wildfires or not? (why didn’t the PPIC ask “what do you think has contributed to California’s recent wildfires?)
  • How much confidence do you have in the government in terms of its readiness to respond to wildfires in your part of California?
  • On another topic, which of the following statements reflects your view of when the effects of climate change will begin to happen?
  • Compared to other issues, would you say addressing global climate change is…

24% a top concern to me personally
57% one of several important concerns to me
19% not an important concern to me
– don’t know

  • How serious of a threat is climate change to the economy and quality of life for California’s future?

47% very serious
33% somewhat serious
11% not too serious
8% not at all serious
1% don’t know

They should have asked, “Do you still beat your wife?”

This poll feels as if they had a desired conclusion, and created the questions and demographics to draw that conclusion using a significantly higher number of polled Democrats, a significantly higher number of high income Californians, and a significantly higher number of polled whites.

You can access the PPIC poll here.

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