Poll: Majority supports Obama’s climate change rules on power plants

HOUSTON — More than two-thirds of  U.S. adults support the Obama administration’s proposed restrictions on power plant emissions, according to an NBC News/Wall Street Journal survey released Wednesday.

In the poll,  37 percent of respondents said they strongly support the limits on carbon dioxide emissions from coal-fired plants and 30 percent say they somewhat support them. By comparison, 19 percent said they strongly oppose the policy and 10 percent somewhat oppose it.

Earlier this month, the Environmental Protection Agency released the proposed rules to slash power plant pollution,  to be finalized next year. The policy is the agency’s strongest action yet to confront climate change and President Obama has touted the move as an improvement for air quality and public health.

Opponents have said the cost of compliance for power companies will create higher utility bills, while having little impact on climate change on a global scale.

Still, 57 percent of respondents to the poll said they would support a requirement for companies to reduce greenhouse gases that cause global warming, even if it meant higher utility bills for customers. And 61 percent of respondents said at least some action is needed to combat climate change, up from 51 percent in July 1999.

Poll: Voting majority backs Keystone XL pipeline

The results are based on interviews with 1000 adults between June 11 and June 15 and have a 3.1 percent margin of error.

The poll found that the Environmental Protection Agency has a good reputation overall, with 40 percent of the respondents saying they have positive feelings toward the regulatory agency, while 28 percent hold negative feelings.

Half of the respondents said most government regulations are necessary to protect consumers and the environment, while 42 percent said most are unnecessary.

However, those positive feelings appeared not to help Obama’s approval rating of 41 percent, tying March for the lowest approval recorded during his presidency.

Energy and environment issues appear to be having little effect on the president’s standing. In an open-ended question asking respondents why they believe the Obama administration’s performance has improved (15 percent) or worsened (41 percent) in the last 12 months, only a few cited the EPA, handling of the Keystone XL pipeline or other energy issues.

Healthcare and the Affordable Care Act were the top reasons volunteered.