A CNN/Opinion Research poll released today shows strong public support for cap-and-trade legislation. As Alex Kaplun of E&E points out, this is despite months of attacks from those opposed to climate and energy policy.

Family on BeachThe poll found 60 percent of the public expressed support for a cap-and-trade proposal that would “limit the amount of greenhouse gases that companies could produce in their factories or power plants.” About 37 percent of voters say they would not support such a proposal.

Most interesting, perhaps, the poll found a relatively strong level of support among Republicans for the legislation, with about 4 in 10 backing the bill. A solid majority of both Democrats and independents back the measure.

There’s a clear generational divide. Younger voters are more inclined to support the measure, with 68 percent of those under the age of 50 supporting the legislation but with those older than 50 evenly split.

  • The poll’s release comes on the day the Senate Committee on Environment and Public Works holds a hearing on the cap and trade legislation under consideration, sponsored by committee chairwoman Barbara Boxer, D-California and Sen. John Kerry, D-Massachusetts. The results also come on the heels of a poll from the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press showing that a declining percentage of Americans believe human activities are contributing to rising global temperatures—but nonetheless indicating modest support for climate and energy policy such as cap and trade.

    As for the generational divide, “this is one more example of the growing generation gap that is shaping politics and policy in this country,” says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. “Younger Americans voted for Obama and tend to welcome change. Older Americans were less enamored of change in the 2008 election and senior citizens were the only age group that voted for John McCain.”

    The CNN/Opinion Research poll surveyed 1,038 adults Oct. 16-18. It has a error margin of 3 percent.

    Family photo courtesy of Flickr user Into Somerset under a Creative Commons license.