Republican Voters Want Next Congress to Cut Clean Energy Spending, but It’s Not One of Their Top-Ranking Priorities

The general electorate is less enthused by the prospect of prioritizing the cutting of spending focused on developing clean and renewable energy sources
November 16, 2022 at 6:00 am UTC

Ahead of the midterms, Republican lawmakers were planning to scrutinize every dollar spent of the $370 billion clean energy provisions in the Inflation Reduction Act. With the GOP poised to take control of the House, most Republican voters believe that the new Congress should cut spending focused on developing clean and renewable energy sources, but it’s not viewed as one of their top priorities, according to a new Morning Consult/Politico survey

1 in 4 Republican Voters Want Next Congress to Make Clean Energy Spending Cuts a ‘Top Priority’

Respondents were asked to what extent the next Congress should prioritize cuts to spending focused on the development of clean and renewable energy sources
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Survey conducted Nov. 10-14, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,983 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

Clean energy cuts a “top priority” for a quarter of Republicans — and an even lower share of the general electorate

  • Roughly a quarter of Republicans think cutting spending focused on developing clean and renewable energy sources should be a top priority for Congress, ranking 12th on a list of 16 priorities, ahead of raising the debt limit (10%) and cutting Medicare and Social Security spending (4%), among other potential measures. GOP voters’ highest-ranking priorities for Congress were increasing border security (76%), passing legislation to ban schools from teaching sexual orientation or gender identity in the classroom for K-3 students (61%) and reforming the U.S. immigration system (53%), according to the survey. 
  • Cutting clean energy spending was a top priority for just 18% of voters overall, 8 percentage points less than Republicans. 
  • While voters overall are split on cutting clean energy spending (43% believe it should be a priority and 47% say it should not), 58% of Democrats and 52% of independents think it should not be a priority. 
  • Simplifying the environmental review process required to start energy projects has more bipartisan support, with more than half of voters overall (54%), Democrats (55%) and Republicans (52%) believing it should be prioritized by the new Congress. Nearly 1 in 4 GOP voters said it should be a top priority.

Permitting reform more likely than clean energy spending cuts as Democrats retain Senate control

The midterm elections were expected to garner more seats in both chambers of Congress for Republicans, but the so-called red wave did not happen. With Democrats retaining control of the Senate and Republicans poised to take the House, threats from GOP lawmakers like Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.), the likely future speaker, point to the party’s ambition to stall the disbursement of federal climate and clean energy funds by using the debt ceiling as leverage. The repeal of the Inflation Reduction Act — and its $370 billion in climate and clean energy provisions — would certainly be vetoed by President Joe Biden, and is not a viable option for Republicans who are looking to stop the disbursement of funds. 

For now, Biden is pushing for a permitting reform bill during the lame-duck session, with hopes of attaching the legislation to a defense authorization package. However, Republicans have their 2024 sights set on unseating Sen. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.), whose permitting reform was left out of an earlier spending package, so it is unclear whether any compromise will happen. Republicans have said that Manchin’s reform is not aggressive enough, with fellow West Virginian Sen. Shelley Moore Capito (R) having introduced her own version. 

Across the world in Egypt, Democrats are pointing fingers at Republicans, and even some of their own party members, for not including international aid for developing countries that are dealing with the effects of climate change. The topic of climate reparations has dominated the conversation at the United Nations’ Conference of the Parties climate conference.

The latest Morning Consult/Politico survey was conducted Nov. 10-14, 2022, among a representative sample of 1,983 registered voters, with an unweighted margin of error of +/-2 percentage points.

A headshot photograph of Julia Martinez
Julia Martinez
Energy & Auto Analyst

Julia Martinez previously worked at Morning Consult as an energy & auto analyst on the Industry Intelligence team.

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