Mixed emotions in the latest United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection Poll may help pinpoint the challenge confronting environmentalists looking to build a coalition behind one of their top priorities.
This week's survey tested attitudes on two hot-button issues: construction of the Keystone XL pipeline and President Obama's proposal to regulate carbon emissions from power plants linked to global climate change. Environmentalists fiercely oppose the first and just as staunchly support the second; for most of the fossil-fuel industry, the priorities are reversed.
But in the survey, only about half of adults who took a position on both issues consistently lined up with one side or the other.
The largest group, at 35 percent, took a consistently pro-development position: They supported the pipeline and said Congress should vote to block the proposed Environmental Protection Agency regulation. Another 14 percent took positions that consistently aligned them with environmentalists: They opposed the pipeline and said Congress should not vote to block the regulations.
The rest splintered. About one-in-six expressed no position on one (or both) of the two issues. Another 8 percent opposed both the carbon regulations and construction of the Keystone pipeline.