Some insights and nuggets from our recent public opinion data

Book Banning

An Embold survey in Tennessee showed that 68 percent of registered voters are somewhat or strongly opposed to banning books. The poll, commissioned by the Tennessee Democracy Forum, was on the heels of the state legislature empowering an appointed commission to ban textbooks and school library books with content on race, gender, or sexuality.

In the April poll, voters were asked: “As you may or may not know, there has been a growing push to remove certain books from schools across the country that local groups deem too problematic because they include content about race, gender, or sexuality. Knowing this, do you support or oppose banning certain books from public schools?”

Overall, 58 percent were strongly opposed, and 10 percent were somewhat opposed. Women were more likely to oppose the bans (74 percent) and Tennesseans 65 years old and older were more likely to support banning certain books (39 percent). A majority of Biden 2020 voters (93 percent) opposed the bans, compared with 47 percent of Trump 2020 voters.

The poll of 1,125 registered voters was conducted April 8-11, with a margin of error of 3.2 percent


Renewable Energy & Climate Change

Embold is excited to be part of the national conversation on renewable energy and environmental issues. We engage with many varied clients on various arms of this topic, including public attitudes toward solar power and local wind energy development, Alaskans’ opinions on climate change and fossil fuels, and corporate investors’ interest in the risk of climate change to companies.

We have completed multiple polls on wind energy in the midwest and how residents feel about potential wind energy development in their respective counties. In Huron County, MI initially, voters are split in their views of continued development of wind turbines at 41% support, 46% oppose. After receiving information on the current industry and its tax benefits, a full 50% support wind turbines and 41% oppose. (You can hear Robin Pressman, the Head of Embold Research, discussing these issues and more on this episode of the Clean Power Hour podcast.)

Apex Clean Energy partnered with Embold Research to work collaboratively with a community on whether to proceed with a wind energy project and if so, how. Apex had this to say about our work: “We have been really impressed … Your methodology has produced meaningful results, very quickly, in places where other formats were really failing to get us the input we were looking for.”

In a poll conducted for Vote Solar, we found that a majority of Pennsylvanians are concerned about climate change, but that most of them rank issues such as cost of living, ending corruption, and health care above environmental issues. Action against climate change faces strong partisan headwinds, according to Embold’s survey, but solar energy does not: 81% of Pennsylvanians support rooftop solar, including 69% of Trump voters. And 65% of all Pennsylvanians support large-scale solar farms.

In survey work conducted for the Alaska Conservation Foundation, Embold found that Alaskans are quite bullish when it comes to the environment. Climate change is the fourth highest-ranked priority of a broad spectrum of issues facing the state. In addition, 68% of Alaskans report witnessing the impacts of climate change, including nearly half of Republicans. Three in four Alaskans believe that growing the fishing and tourism industries will be better for the state in the long run, even if it slows down or harms the mining industry.

Financial Reform

Embold conducted a poll of corporate investors for Americans for Financial Reform. This survey focused on a proposed rule by the Securities and Exchange Commission that would require a public company to disclose information about its climate-related risks that are reasonably likely to have a material impact on its business. This would allow investors to make informed decisions about their retirement planning and where they choose to invest. The Embold poll was of current and potential investors, and our clients commissioned it both to inform the SEC’s comment period and to draw media attention to the issue.

Our research showed that investors support the SEC requiring disclosure and having more information about future investments. Here is AFR’s public release on it.

City life

From the West coast to the East coast, voters report dissatisfaction with their urban living conditions, and in two of the three polls Embold recently ran, voters report that they are considering leaving their respective cities for greener pastures. They cite homelessness, cost of living, and crime as the biggest factors in their decisions.

In a poll of San Franciscans conducted for the San Francisco Standard, 44% of voters in the Golden City say they are likely to leave San Francisco either within two years (16%) or eventually (28%). When asked how safe they felt living there compared with 2019, one third said they felt “much less safe,” and another third said “less safe.”

The same San Francisco Standard poll, conducted April 30-May 4, 2022 with a margin of error of +/- 3.8%, was an accurate predictor of the recall of the city’s District Attorney Chesa Boudin.

In a poll conducted for Sacred Heart Community Service in San Jose, California, voters are similarly pessimistic, with 62% saying the city is on the wrong track. The top reasons, which cut across every district and racial background, were homelessness, crime, public safety and the cost of living/housing. Nearly all voters say homelessness is a problem for San Jose, with 87% of them calling it a “big problem.”

Things don’t sound so different in the Big Apple: Over half of New York City voters (56%) say they “seriously considered leaving New York City in the past year,” with a slightly larger majority (58%) disagreeing that “things in New York City are generally on the right track.” At least a plurality – 44% – agree that the city “feels alive again” after the worst of the pandemic, with 37% disagreeing with that statement.

News & Updates

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Embold Research is the nonpartisan, nonpolitical division of Change Research. Our methodology and polling have been featured in: