Climate bill messaging

Interesting insights from pollster Frank Luntz, via Reuters:

“If you really want to scare Americans it’s not about glaciers that are melting or the struggle of the polar bear,” said the pollster and political adviser Frank Luntz, most known for his work with Republicans.

“What scares Americans is the idea that this great technological industry will be developed in China or India rather than America,” said Luntz, who once advised former President George W. Bush’s administration to emphasize that there was a lack of scientific certainty about climate change.

Luntz said polls his company conducted late last year showed that a combined 65 percent of respondents stated that climate change exists and action needs to be taken, or that the science was not settled but people should explore ways to cut emissions and adopt clean energy. “This is true of Republicans and Democrats alike,” he said.

Backers of the cap-and-trade bill have emphasized climate science too much, and the potential positive results from a clean-energy bill — domestic jobs, a healthier environment, and potentially less money sent to the Middle East for oil — too little, Luntz said.

Wording is important in drumming up support for the bill, he added. Backers should emphasize it would create “American” jobs rather than “green” jobs, while Americans want “reliable” technology more than “smart” technology, he said.

Poll respondents who were Democrats or Republicans believed the most important environmental and economic goal for the United States should be cutting dependence on foreign fuel and halting pollution of the air and water. Ending climate change came in last of the 10 priorities in that category.

Hat tip to Travis Franck.