An exit poll found that a majority of Washington state voters support carbon emission regulations in the state. Flickr/oatsy40

An exit poll found that a majority of Washington state voters support carbon emission regulations in the state. Flickr/oatsy40

Exit poll indicates Washington voters still support climate change action

State environmental organizations’ poll points to continuing support for carbon-reducing measures.

Exit polling funded by Washington state conservation groups found that a majority of residents support climate initiatives.

The exit polling was supported by the Audubon of Washington and The Nature Conservancy, and representatives held a web press conference Jan. 10 to discuss their findings. In the poll, they interviewed more than 1,200 voters from the Nov. 2018 election on why they voted on carbon fee Initiative 1631 — which was rejected — and their overall support for climate and carbon laws.

On I-1631, the poll found that 34 percent said they voted yes, and another 31 percent said they supported some sort of legislation, but that I-1631 was too flawed and that a better initiative is preferred. Combined, these voters outweighed the 25 percent who said the state doesn’t need to take action and who opposed I-1631. Moderate Republicans under age 55, union members, and non-college educated women were more highly represented in the 31 percent who said they support climate legislation, but not I-1631.

Overall, around 80 percent of Washington state voters think climate change is happening in some way, and 64 percent of voters either strongly or somewhat support the state taking action on climate change. The strongest support for climate change policy comes from voters under age 40 and voters of color, according to the poll.

I-1631 would have created a a $15 per metric ton fee on carbon emissions beginning in 2020, which would have risen by $2 each year until the state met its goal of reducing carbon emissions below 1990 levels. The initiative would have taken the money from the fee and reinvested it into clean energy projects, providing pensions and economic support for displaced energy workers and investing in communities that will be hit hardest by climate change. The initiative was rejected by more than 56 percent of voters.

The initiative was proposed after the failure of I-732 in 2016, which would have taken the revenue and returned it directly to state residents.

David Metz, president of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz and Associates, said during the Jan. 10 presentation that past polling suggests voters would more likely support investments instead of dividends.

“What we found pretty consistently is voters are much more enthusiastic about investing revenue,” he said.

Researchers from the University of Washington told Seattle Weekly in previous reporting there are two ways in which revenues can be used to benefit residents: through dividends or investments in infrastructure, and offsetting the effects of transitioning away from fossil fuel. While investments in infrastructure may benefit people in the long run, if increased costs aren’t offset in the short term, people may be less likely to support carbon pricing.

Following I-1631’s defeat on the November ballot, Gov. Jay Inslee and the Democratic-controlled Legislature will be pushing for other clean energy measures in the 2019 session. Inslee announced a proposal in December to reduce the state’s use of fossil fuels by 2035. Included in this is a push to use entirely clean and renewable energy in the energy grid, building cleaner buildings, and promoting the use of electric vehicles.

If the proposal to create a completely green power grid passes, Washington state would join California and Hawaii in de-carbonizing its energy sector, Metz said. By making investments in wind and solar energy, Washington and Oregon could fully de-carbonize their power grids by mid-century. Of the voters polled, 65 percent said they would strongly or somewhat support a green energy grid, and 71 percent of people who felt that I-1631 was too flawed said they were behind a 100 percent green energy proposal.

The poll found that households making the least amount of money — those bringing in under $50,000 annually — had a 76 percent support rate for a clean energy grid. Some 56 percent of those polled said they would prefer to pay a little more to ensure their electricity is coming from clean and renewable sources, compared with 34 who would prefer to pay the same rates even if the power is from dirty sources.


In consideration of how we voice our opinions in the modern world, we’ve closed comments on our websites. We value the opinions of our readers and we encourage you to keep the conversation going.

Please feel free to share your story tips by emailing editor@bothell-reporter.com.

To share your opinion for publication, submit a letter through our website https://www.bothell-reporter.com/submit-letter/. Include your name, address and daytime phone number. (We’ll only publish your name and hometown.) We reserve the right to edit letters, but if you keep yours to 300 words or less, we won’t ask you to shorten it.

More in News

State Capitol Building in Olympia. File photo
Politicians get pay raises, state workers get furloughs

A citizens panel approved the hikes in 2019. Unable to rescind them, lawmakers look to donate their extra earnings.

Starting July 6, three road paving projects to prepare for

Two full road closures and night paving work is coming to Redmond Ridge at Novelty Hill Road, near Duvall, July 6 through August

Human remains in West Seattle identified

Bags of body parts were found in a suitcase along a West Seattle beach on June 19.

According to King County’s Mental Illness and Drug Dependency (MIDD) annual report, Seattle had the highest rate of people using services at 36 percent of the total, followed by 31 percent from South King County, 18 percent from the greater Eastside, and 7 percent from north county including Shoreline. Courtesy image
Drug courts, officer de-escalation programs impacted by MIDD cuts

The fund provides money for mental illness and drug dependency programs across King County.

Summer vehicle travel projected to decrease this year

Traffic this summer will likely be lighter across Washington state than previous… Continue reading

Governor Jay Inslee smiles and laughs Sept. 3, 2019, during a speech at the Lynnwood Link Extension groundbreaking in Lynnwood. A Thurston County judge ruled he exceeded his authority when he vetoed single sentences in the state transportation budget in 2019. (Olivia Vanni / Herald file)
Judge invalidates Gov. Inslee’s veto in roads budget

Lawmakers said the governor crossed a constitutional line.

King County cases among younger adults drives increase in COVID-19 numbers

Over half of all new cases are among people ages 20-39

Kirkland man found guilty of promoting prostitution in Eastside sex trafficking ring

Authorities say suspect ran “successful enterprise” for greater half of a decade.

Public and private universities, colleges, technical schools, apprenticeship programs and similar schools and programs may resume general instruction, including in-person classes and lectures, starting Aug. 1. Pictured: The University of Washington-Bothell campus. File photo
Universities and colleges may reopen in fall, governor says

His order requires masks and physical distancing, among other measures, to help prevent infections.

Most Read