WASHINGTON -- Republican presidential candidates have taken aim at the Environmental Protection Agency, pledging to cut its federal funding and strip it of the tools to address emissions. But such views may prove a liability with voters on the campaign trail. Recent polls show that a majority of Republicans want to continue funding the EPA, while experts say the electorate largely trusts the American regulatory agency.
"They are catering to a small segment of Republican electorate,â said Republicans for Environmental Protection's David Jenkins when asked why presidential hopefuls would target the agency. When you look at polling on just about any environmental issue, Jenkins said, be it the Clean Air Act, Clean Water Act or Endangered Species Act, Americans support conservation by substantial majorities.
Continuing to provide the current level of funding to the EPA is popular among a majority of Republicans, according to the most recent polling, and even among voters who identified as Tea Party supporters: A full 49 percent favored extending federal funding to the regulatory agency.
Yet leading Republican presidential candidates have continued to call for cutting federal funds to the agency, perhaps because of an inherent inconsistency in the polls: Surveys have shown half of Tea Party supporters want to continue funding the EPA, but when polled, they still support candidates who would gut it. (Read more...)