Pew Research: Even Democrats Think We Should Still Use Fossil Fuels

Last week, Pew Research Center released new polling that shows that “relatively few Americans” believe the U.S. should phase out fossil fuels entirely. Instead, about 7 out of 10 favor a mix of energy sources, including young people and Democrat-leaning adults.  

The percentage of U.S. adults that “favor” the Biden administration’s goal of “taking steps toward becoming carbon neutral by 2050” has declined by 5 points since 2022. Only 37% of Republican-leaning voters agree, but 88% of Democrat-leaning voters do. (Notice that the question did not specify what “taking steps toward,” net-zero meant in practice, so respondents could have had in mind very different things).

Only 29% of U.S. adults support the U.S. phasing out “the use of fossil fuels completely,” with predictable breaks along party lines and age. Younger adults (age 18-29) still favor using a mix of fossil fuel and renewable energy sources, at 54%. Even 53% of Democrat-leaning adults agree. Only Democrat-leaning adults between 18 and 29 show less than majority support for a mix of generation sources, at 43%.

While Pew notes consistent levels of support for “developing wind, solar and hydrogen production,” among Democrat-leaning adults since 2019, these forms of energy have lost a lot of support among Republican-leaning adults.

“By contrast, there was a major shift toward fossil fuels among Republicans following the 2020 election, with continued movement in this direction in the last several years. Since 2020, the share of Republicans who say they prioritize developing renewable energy over expanding fossil fuels is down 27 percentage points, from 65% to 38%. There has been a corresponding 26-point increase in the share of Republicans who give priority to developing oil, coal and natural gas (from 35% to 61%).”

I wonder why?

Republicans also came out in favor of reliable nuclear power, with 67% favoring more nuclear energy. That’s next to 49% of Democrat-leaning adults and 56% of all U.S. adults.

Read the rest of the findings from Pew Research Center here: