Last week, we blogged about new poll of 18- to 24-year-old voters from our friends at the American Conservation Coalition (ACC) and the Conservative Energy Network (CEN), which demonstrated unequivocal support for clean energy development among Millennial Republicans. Those findings matched dozens of similar polls, including our own 2017 polling.
Even though it’s only been a few days, we thought it was worth discussing GOP Millennials once again because the Pew Research Center—widely considered one of the most reputable, nonpartisan, and influential think tanks around—just released their own polling today confirming this irreversible trend among young Republicans.
The accompanying analysis piece is titled “Many Republican Millennials differ with older party members on climate change and energy issues”; however, that headline doesn’t tell the whole story.
Yes, there is a stark generational divide about climate change. The poll found Millennial Republicans were twice as likely as Baby Boomer Republicans to say the Earth is warming mostly due to human activity.
But you don’t have to throw the baby—or Baby Boomers, as it were—out with the bath water. Even though much greater proportions of older Republicans tend to be climate change skeptics, they are also very supportive of clean energy because they are concerned with job creation, economic development, and national security. Conservatives don’t need to all agree on climate science to get behind the very real technological innovation taking place in American energy.
Just look at the support for clean energy among all generations: There is incredibly strong support for solar, including 81 percent of Republican Baby Boomers, and wind, with 73 percent of older Republicans. Millennial Republicans check in at 87 percent and 83 percent, respectively.
Not much of a gap there, mostly because the numbers are so high. In fact, those polling numbers would be the envy of any political candidate as most of them are lucky to win by even a few percentage points. Nothing will reverse this trend. It’s hard to imagine higher support for anything.
And while support for traditional energy sources like oil and gas drilling is lower among Millennials, it is still significant, suggesting that “all of the above” is indeed the message that will appeal across generations and across party lines.
Ultimately, the Pew poll reaffirms our view that we want to build on the common ground and convince more Republicans to embrace clean energy to win. Whatever the reason, clean energy will determine if we can meet our future energy demand with domestic resources. The key for CRES is that we are always focused on commonsense and responsible solutions—it’s in our name, after all.