How else to read this new poll (PDF) from Christopher Newport University?
First, let's establish one thing: Virginia's government is doing nothing to address global warming. That's not me talking -- that's what a Virginia Department of Environmental Quality spokesman told the Newport News Daily Press. No, wait -- that's not quite right. Virginia is actively trying to obstruct action on global warming thanks to the war on science led by Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli & supported by Gov. Bob McDonnell & Lt. Gov. Bill Bolling.
Meanwhile, last month was the hottest March on record globally & broke a record for lack of cold locally. That's after 2009 was the 2nd-hottest year on record & the 2000s were the hottest decade on record. Oh, and remember the "oil crisis" in the 1970s? We import twice as much oil today as we did then.
The poll shows Virginians explicitly reject the McDonnell/Bolling/Cuccinelli clean energy & climate obstruction in three key areas:
- Virginians want state government to act, not obstruct. 78% agree "Virginia’s government has to create policies that could address the issue of climate change and improve the state’s environment."
- It doesn't matter if they don't buy the science. 91% agree "regardless of whether there is or isn’t climate change, it is still in Virginia’s best interest to develop new sources of energy that are cleaner, reliable, affordable, and safer."
- Virginians are willing to pay a little more for clean energy. 81% agree "slightly higher energy costs today are worth the investment if they lead to energy that is cleaner, reliable, affordable, and safer down the road."
Oh, and the winter snowstorms that the Virginia GOP & Ken Cuccinelli said were proof global warming isn't happening? Only 5% of Virginia voters agree. Instead, 28% say the freakishly strong storms made them more concerned about climate change.
Overall? Only 38% give Virginia's environment an A or a B. That's down sharply from 45% just last year.
I'd say there was a huge opportunity for Virginia Democrats to go after McDonnell/Bolling/Cuccinelli & establish clear contrast in the eyes of voters. But from state-level candidates like Tim Kaine, Creigh Deeds & Jody Wagner to Senators Mark Warner & Jim Webb, Virginia Democrats seem to prefer instead to listen to Republican positions promoting polluting fuels & say "me, too!"
To get clear contrast, you have to go to the regional level -- House members like Tom Perriello, Jim Moran & Gerry Connolly, State Senators like Chap Peterson & Donald McEachin, or Delegates like Albert Pollard, Scott Surovell, Adam Ebbin & David Englin.
As Virginia Democrats plot strategy for 2010, 2011 & beyond, can they develop a statewide strategy for taking advantage of this opening -- the gaping canyon between voters' support for a new direction on clean energy & climate action and GOP candidates' obstruction to progress & shilling for polluting fuels?