Episode 117: Net Zero to Hero

35 minutes

2/3/20-- Earth Day is not for another two months, but there's a lot of talk circling climate change in Massachusetts these days. Steve and Jenn break it down today with special guests, but first, an incident involving national horse race polling broke over the weekend that we at The Horse Race have a duty to address.

A Des Moines Register / CNN poll surveying likely Democratic Iowa Caucus-goers was pulled before it was set for release Saturday night. According to Politico, a call center interviewer enlarged the question's font on their monitor, potentially cutting off some candidates' names in a randomized list following a question. Lis Smith, a senior adviser to Pete Buttigieg's campaign, announced the campaign had heard from a survey participant telling them not every candidate running was named when the interviewer asked who the participant supported.

The incident prompted an empathetic response from Steve, our resident pollster here on the pod and president of The MassINC Polling Group who called the news "sad."

"Polling involves dozens or even hundreds of things that you have to make sure are right, and they're all small things, and they're almost always all right because they're cut and paste from previous polls and that sort of thing. But something can go wrong, and something did go wrong here."

The most recent poll conducted by The MassINC Polling Group avoided that fate, luckily. And it sheds new light on how Massachusetts residents think about climate change. First and foremost, the statewide poll of roughly 2,300 Massachusetts residents found that a majority of them see climate change as a serious challenge and are already feeling its impacts.

There's a notable shift happening now in public opinion on climate change, which Steve can attest is rare. "On so many public opinion issues, it's just stable," he said. "The most visible example is Donald Trump's approval rating. This wild storm of stuff happening in national politics, and... nothing changes."

On the issue of global warming, however, this poll finds 53% of Massachusetts residents say it is a high priority. That's a jump from 32% as recently as 2014.

"This is one which reminds me more--potentially more-- of marijuana legalization opinion or same-sex marriage opinion where just inexorably over a period of years, stuff goes from one reality to a completely different reality."

Find the detailed report at massincpolling.com/the-topline.

Turning now to Beacon Hill, Steve and Jenn make their way to the State House to speak with Senate President Karen Spilka and Senator Mike Barrett about the trio of climate bills passed by the state Senate last week.

They include, among other things, the goal of net-zero emissions by 2050, which, Sen. Barrett describes as, "a very ambitious goal." He said, "It puts Massachusetts right where the United Nations body wants the world to be, and in that sense we are offering world leadership."

Senate President Spilka said of the legislation, "We recognize that people across the state are asking us to take action, so we strengthen our goals and our requirements for down the line."

Plus, Spilka provides a look ahead at the Senate's next big priority: mental health.

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