40 percent of white evangelicals support idea of Green New Deal, poll shows

Evangelical supporters of Donald Trump praying at a rally in Florida in this undated photo. | (Photo: Reuters/Carlo Allegri)

A new survey sponsored by NPR and PBS NewsHour indicates that almost about four out of 10 white evangelicals support the ideas behind the "Green New Deal" while 66 percent say they will definitely vote for President Donald Trump in 2020. 

The survey was conducted by The Marist Poll and interviewed 1,346 adults nationwide from July 15 through July 17. Respondents were questioned about their views on the liberal-supported environmental stimulus package, as well as President Donald Trump, the Democrat 2020 candidates, and a number of hot-button political issues. 

Sixty-three percent of all respondents said they think "a Green New Deal to address climate change by investing government money in green jobs and energy-efficient infrastructure" is a "good idea." Meanwhile, 32 percent of respondents said they think such a deal is a "bad idea."

The Green New Deal is a controversial economic stimulus package proposed by progressive Democrats that hopes to address the effects of climate change. The framework for the proposal was initially posted on the website of House Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez earlier this year. 

Among many things, the plan calls for large investments in upgrading infrastructure in an effort to drastically reduce greenhouse gases and pollution while creating new high-paying jobs in the clean energy sector.  

Ocasio-Cortez sponsored a "Green New Deal" resolution in the U.S. House of Representatives, while Massachusetts Democrat Edward Markey introduced a similar resolution in the U.S. Senate. The plan has been criticized by moderate Democrats as well as many conservatives who say the plan could cost tens of trillions of dollars. 

Although white evangelical Christians have gained a reputation as being mostly conservative Trump supporters, the survey finds that a significant minority (40 percent) of white evangelicals (who comprised about 19 percent of the sample) said they think the Green New Deal to address climate change is a "good idea."

Fifty-one percent of white evangelicals, however, indicated that they think such a plan is a "bad idea."

When broken down by party affiliation, 86 percent of Democrats said that the plan is a "good idea," while only 26 percent of Republicans said the same thing. Sixty-seven percent of Republican respondents said a Green New Deal to address climate change is a "bad idea."

The survey result drew the attention of Climate Desk, a journalistic collaboration seeking to explore the impact of climate change. 

"In the 2016 presidential election, 81 percent of white evangelical Christians voted to elect President Trump. But this core base of the Republican Party is more receptive to large-scale action to combat climate change than you might expect," the organization tweeted out in response to the poll.

The survey also asked respondents about whether or not they think the U.S. should rejoin the 2016 Paris Agreement on climate change, which deals with greenhouse gas mitigation. In 2017, Trump announced that the U.S. would withdraw from the agreement, an act critics labeled the wrong move for the U.S.

Although 40 percent of white evangelicals expressed some level of support for the Green New Deal, there was not that same level of support among white evangelicals for the Paris Climate Agreement as 24 percent of white evangelical respondents were "unsure" how to answer that question. 

By comparison, only 8 percent of white evangelicals said they were "unsure" when asked about the Green New Deal. 

About 26 percent of white evangelicals said they think it is a "good idea" for the U.S. to rejoin the agreement, while 50 percent of white evangelicals said they think it is a "bad idea." 

One hot topic discussed in the Democratic primary debates thus far has been "Medicare for All." Although many Democrats running for president say they support the idea of "Medicare for All," differences have emerged surrounding what candidates think a Medicare for All program should look like. 

For the poll, Marist asked respondents if they think that a policy that provides "Medicare for all that want it" and allows "all Americans to choose between a national health insurance program or their own private health insurance, is a good idea or a bad idea?"  

Ninety percent of Democrats feel that such a plan is a "good idea," while 46 percent of Republicans said that same thing. 

Fifty-eight percent of white evangelicals said they think such a plan is a "good idea," while 34 percent disagreed. 

When asked about whether or not they would vote for Trump in 2020, 39 percent of national registered voters surveyed said they definitely plan to vote for him, while 53 percent said they would definitely vote against him. 

Sixty-six percent of white evangelicals said they definitely plan to vote for Trump in 2020, while 26 percent said they definitely plan to vote against him. 

Only 43 percent of national voters said they think that the "ideas being offered by the Democratic candidates running for president would generally move the country in" the "right direction." Eighty-three percent of Democrats, 6 percent of Republicans and 19 percent of white evangelicals said the same thing.

Follow Samuel Smith on Twitter: @IamSamSmith

or Facebook: SamuelSmithCP

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