A new poll has found that a plurality of Texans oppose a federal cap-and-trade bill to reduce greenhouse emissions, while a sizable majority favor state rules requiring efficiency measures to accomplish the same goal.

PollThe survey results [pdf] were published Wednesday by The Texas Tribune, a non-profit news venture that was launched this week. They were part of what the new online publication described as “the inaugural University of Texas/Texas Tribune poll.”

Respondents were asked their opinion of “the proposed ‘cap and trade’ legislation that would impose limits on the amount of greenhouse gases that a company can emit and cause them to buy permits when they need to exceed their limit.” (A bill featuring that kind of regulatory system won narrow passage in the House in June. The Senate is now considering a similar measure.)

Forty-four percent said they oppose such a law (36 percent “strongly” and 8 percent “somewhat”). Thirty-seven percent said they support it (15 percent “strongly” and 22 percent “somewhat”). Nineteen percent answered “don’t know.”

Pollsters also asked this question: “In order to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, what is your opinion on the Texas state government requiring new homes, commercial buildings, and industrial plants to be more energy efficient?”

Sixty-eight percent of the respondents supported such requirements (36 percent “strongly” and 32 percent “somewhat”). Twenty-one percent said they were opposed (10 percent “strongly” and 11 percent “somewhat”). Twelve percent said they “don’t know.”

The Internet poll, which included questions about the Texas governor’s race and various public issues, involved 800 registered voters and was conducted Oct. 20-27.

Another statewide survey, conducted in June by the Texas Lyceum, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization, also sought opinions about the cap-and-trade concept.

The Texas Lyceum Poll involved interviews with 860 Texas adults. Forty-seven percent supported the cap-and-trade idea, forty-two percent opposed it, and the rest didn’t know or wouldn’t give their opinion.

The UT/Texas Tribune poll found that its respondents focused on economic concerns when asked to name “the most important problem facing this country today.” Twenty-four percent said it was “the economy.” Fourteen percent answered “unemployment/jobs.” Fifteen percent said “federal spending/national debt.”

– Bill Dawson

Photo credit: © treenabeena – Fotolia.com