Despite the Democratic Party’s push for progressive environmental policies like the Green New Deal, climate change was not foremost on the minds of most voters this election cycle, according to recent polling from the Associated Press.

The polling, performed by NORC at the University of Chicago, shows that just single-digit percentages of voters across multiple states considered climate to be among their top issues. The economy and jobs as well as healthcare were among the top issues as people cast their ballots.

In Michigan, Pennsylvania and North Carolina just 3 percent of voters ranked climate as important; 5 percent in New York and Minnesota; and 6 percent in Massachusetts.

“Americans clearly rejected the policies of the progressive left with respect to energy policy and any attempt to transform America into a socialist country,” said Thomas Pyle, president of the American Energy Alliance.

Democratic presidential hopeful Joe Biden’s handling of the energy issue, particularly fracking, has created headaches for his party in energy-rich states like Pennsylvania, Ohio and Texas. In New Mexico, U.S. Rep. Xochitl Torres Small appears to have been a victim of Green New Deal politics, losing her seat to GOP challenger Yvette Herrell.

Torres Small tried to distance herself from the top of the ticket. When Biden said during the Oct. 22 presidential debate that “I would transition from the oil industry,” she tweeted her opposition.

“I disagree with VP Biden’s statement tonight. Energy is part of the backbone of New Mexico’s economy,” she said. “I will continue to stand up to my party when they’re out of touch with the reality on the ground in -NM02.”

In the battleground and yet-unresolved Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, the oil and gas industry supports more than 300,000 jobs.

“Look what Democrats did to the coal industry,” says Steve Moore, co-founder of the Committee to Unleash Prosperity. “They don’t care about working class people. They care about the Green New Deal. People think it’s just rhetoric from Democrats but they are ideological. This crusade against oil and gas is a religion.”

According to the American Energy Alliance, fracking technology has made the U.S. the top oil and natural gas producer in the world.

At various stages of their campaigns, Biden and his running mate Sen. Kamala Harris advocated banning fracking either just on federal lands, or entirely on public and private property, which would reduce household incomes by $5,400 annually and increase energy costs by more than $600 per year.

Such a ban, which could cost up to 7.5 million jobs in 2022, would result in the U.S. importing more than 40 percent of oil and petroleum needs by 2030 in addition to importing natural gas, despite the abundance of the resource here.

“The impact of the bans on top of the losses experienced due to the coronavirus lockdown would be devastating to Americans and the U.S. economy, while decreasing national energy security and lessening our influence in energy markets throughout the world,” the alliance wrote in a blog post last month titled “The Insane Cost of Biden’s Fracking Ban.”

Following the election, the group noted that voters rejected candidates “seeking to dismantle newfound American energy independence.”

Despite the presidential and a number of U.S. Senate and House races still undetermined, the recriminations for national Democrats’ lackluster performance have been fierce, with one unnamed Democratic House member telling Politico that the election was “a dumpster fire.”

In addition to Torres Small, Democratic U.S. Rep. Kendra Suzanne Horn lost her Oklahoma House seat. Pennsylvania Rep. Connor Lamb and California Rep. T.J. Cox remain locked in tight battles.

Throughout the campaign, Biden called climate change “the No. 1 issue facing humanity.”

“If he does become president, Biden may want to pay attention to the New York Times election exit polls that indicated voters don’t place a high priority on the generic climate issue — no exit poll result made it out of single digits,” said Steve Milloy, founder of

“If voters knew that Biden intended to raise taxes and the cost of energy dramatically to pay for an issue they don’t prioritize, those single digits would be zero.”

Jessica Towhey writes on education and energy policy for InsideSources.

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(19) comments


I've noticed this for years. I am a conservative woodsman/naturalist/environmentalist. I enjoy, respect, and appreciate the natural environment. I have 54 solar panels on my roof and planted 1500 trees by hand with my wife. I understand the connection between ancient CO2 and climate change. So why don't I jump in bed with the dems? First off, I'm not a one trick pony. There are many issues that are just as important as the environment. Secondly, as this article points out, the dems could give a rat's patoot for the environment. They pretend, yes, but its all fake. I have dem family members who swoon over jet trips to Paris and Cali to Boston flights for their kids attending expensive private colleges. Their personal actions do not show them to be environmentally minded. But they do pretend! Even in this comment section, there's Cobb love and there's Trump hate but where's the environmental concern among the dems? There is little to none. This points to the crux of the article. Even the king, Cuomo himself, hasn't signed the reduced road salt bill for the Dacks. Salt is killing lakes, rivers, and aquifers. Lots and lots of hypocrisy to consider here.

hermit thrush

you make some not unreasonable points in this comment -- and as an aside, that is wonderful about the solar panels and tree planting! -- but one of your core claims is nonsense: "as this article points out, the dems could give a rat's patoot for the environment." first, there is nothing in this article supporting that claim. second, democrats really do care about the environment. the primary examples you're giving to the contrary are on the level of personal conduct, not policy. if you think it's hypocritical for liberals/environmentalists to fly on planes, then ok, there's at least a little bit of something to that (just how much is open for debate). but democratic environmental policies are, in aggregate, much much better than trump's. (personally i haven't followed the salt issue locally; you may well have a good point there.) it's fine for you to prioritize other issues, but there is simply no question which party is better overall on the environment and climate.


Thank you for recognizing the positive points of my comments. I will say that if you can't live it, you don't believe it. Here is another discrepancy I see with Dem policy. Lots of EPA work inhibits US industry, powered in large part by natural gas. When inhibited, where does this industry go? China, which really doesn't give a rat's patoot about the environment. We are powered by natural gas, provided you support fracking. China is powered by coal. Which is more climate friendly? Why support policies that support industry to China? China is not our friend, its not environmentally friendly, and its not worker friendly.

hermit thrush

"I will say that if you can't live it, you don't believe it."

i disagree. it is perfectly principled to realize that in most environmental matters (such as e.g. carbon emissions), any one individual's actions are a drop in the ocean, and the only thing that really matters is mass action (which can only be effected through policy changes enacted by government). to change the ocean you have to do something which changes an awful lot of drops. in other contexts conservatives regularly decry so-called "virtue signaling," and while i think that's a very misplaced critique in the typical contexts in which it arises, here you are actively calling for people to virtue signal in a way that the critique makes much better sense.

so far as i know you're making a perfectly valid point about china. i think the way out is to use our own economic leverage to force them to clean up their act. the only thing stopping us from imposing a carbon tax on polluters is people and politicians who refuse to accept that climate change is real and is going to wreak enormous damage on the lives of young/young-ish people like myself and your own kids and grandkids.


Hermit, you don't believe in living out your environmental ideals? To make a point, let me ask you this. Would it be "OK" to say in 1850, "I don't believe in slavery, but if I free my slaves, its a 'drop in the bucket' so I'll keep my slaves until 'policy' is changed"?

hermit thrush

are you asking this seriously, in good faith, pb? do you not immediately see the problem with that? i can take the time to answer this if you genuinely want me too, but i am blown away that you would raise a comparison like this in the first place.


Yes hermit, I am serious. Your incredulity is ridiculous. I'm trying to identify if you really believe that you don't need to live your convictions, you just need to advocate for policies that mirror your convictions. I think you know what I'm getting at. A person who thinks there should be mandatory recycling but throws everything in the garbage because its not required in his state is a fake and a phony.

hermit thrush

🙄 i assure you nothing in this thread tops the ridiculousness of comparing slavery to one's personal carbon emissions.

it is debasing to have to write this out, but enslaving a human being does enormous harm to the slave. any one individual's carbon emissions makes no perceptible difference in the environment and hence causes no one any harm. that's the difference.

i hear where you're coming from on the last sentence, but you're actually wrong. it's perfectly rational and principled for someone to realize that in the absense of a recycling mandate, their own personal behavior is just not going to have any effect on anything. i say this as someone who recycles and composts as much as i can, but it's true. what matters is outcomes, not intentions.


Good exchange PB and HT... points well taken by both of you.. Well aware of the salt issue issue that goes back to the previous Cuomo.. How do you reconcile POTUS ... he's confusing to follow.. He has called climate change "mythical", "nonexistent", or "an expensive hoax" - but also subsequently described it as a "serious subject" that is "very important to me".


This is how I reconcile POTUS. Everything has become so polarized that it is a binary choice, when choosing a political side. It has completely warped our discourse and decision making. POTUS had to cobb together a coalition of people to be elected in 2016. Coal workers were part of that coalition. Your party does the same constantly. A bone thrown here, some rhetoric thrown over there. What Trump has said about climate change was done to build a coalition of followers. Now don't get sanctimonious and pretend that Dems don't do the same. Your party has built a firewall against nuclear power for decades. This is out of ignorance and emotion, yet no dem would ever get elected who advocated for nukes. Even though that technology could make huge inroads into the CO2 problem. Its all emotion with no reality in that discussion and it keeps us hooked on coal. I disagreed with Trump everytime he said this stuff but to me, he was right on the rest of the issues. Plus, the Dems are hypocrites on this very issue. How do you reconcile Nancy Pelosi flying home every week to California or possessing 2 giant Subzero fridges? Maybe it's "Whats right for thee, is not for me."

hermit thrush

there is actually a robust high-level debate about expanding nuclear power. personally, i think more nuclear is a good idea given the dangers of the climate crisis, but it's actually a nontrivial debate. people of good faith can disagree about it. what is really not true is to say that the opposition is out ignorance and emotion.

it is also not true that we are hooked on coal, completely aside from anything to do with nuclear power. coal is declining in the u.s. and solar is now cheaper.

how is nancy pelosi hypocritical for doing her job? it's not like she's calling for air travel or fridges to be banned.


Nancy P. is a hypocrite because her job does not require her to fly across the country in a PRIVATE jet. It only requires her to be in Washington when the House is in session. She uses the environmental movement as part of her street cred every chance she gets but doesn't live that way herself. I value living your beliefs. And if its OK for her to get her hair done without a mask, its OK for all Americans.

hermit thrush

great job as usual, pb. If your time is short:

- In 2008, the House sergeant-at-arms inquired about whether Pelosi could have access to a C-32, a military version of a Boeing 757, as her predecessor Dennis Hastert did following the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
- Pelosi did not request it or frequently use it.
- Pelosi has flown commercial airlines since 2011.

why try to accurately understand the world when it's so much more fun to let yourself get duped by dumb right-wing memes?

hermit thrush

hermit thrush

"I value living your beliefs."

what an absolutely amazing thing for a diehard trumper to write.


Hermit, your last comment about recycling (or anything else of importance) is downright weird. I live my convictions whether I'm required to or not. Really sorry you don't. While not current, the link is about what really happened. Heres Nance waving the gender card wildly and not giving two rats' patoots about the environment. "I want a jet that can each California." The only reason this isn't happening is because it was denied. She must think like you do in the personal action category. Nice dig on all Trump voters, by the way. I bet you don't talk to people in person like that.

hermit thrush

pb, there's nothing weird about my recycling comment. please just think about it for a second. what matters is outcomes. personally, i recycle and compost. i drive a prius. that kind of stuff is what feels right to me in terms of how i live my own life. but if another person makes different choices in terms of their own recycling or driving practices, then it's hard to criticize them since it ultimately causes no harm to anyone. again, what matters is outcomes, not posturing.

the link i gave already pre-debunks yours. there was no scandal there whatsoever. all that's happening is that pelosi is a hate object for people on the right.

it wasn't a dig on all trump voters, only you.


Dems need to be very careful with the climate change issue... voters aren't ready to go all in ... it's an issue that needs addressing...but at what cost, and efforts to make fossil fuel clean is as important... This election was focused on addressing chaos from POTUS... if he had controlled his antics, he'd had gotten re-elected..


Good comments PB...then the Nancy Pelosi she's the only one flying to/from their respective states... you think Murkowski from Alaska drives... Just when you offer rational environmental comments you go off the rail..

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