POLL: Majority of Voters Oppose Candidates that Support Importing Chinese Solar Panels

  • 90% of voters think the U.S. should manufacture renewable energy domestically
  • 70% say the U.S. should not be dependent on China and Chinese-controlled factories in Southeast Asia for solar imports
  • Forced labor and coal use in Chinese solar supply chains, and U.S. taxpayer dollars funding purchases of Chinese solar equipment are top concerns among voters

WASHINGTON — A new poll of registered voters, conducted by Morning Consult for the Coalition for a Prosperous America (CPA), shows a significant majority (57%) of voters, including 52% of Democrats, will oppose candidates that support the continued importation of solar panels produced with coal-fired power plants in China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia. Additionally, a significant majority (55%) of voters, including 60% of Independents, said that they are less likely to support a candidate who supports addressing climate change by importing Chinese solar panels. Voters signaled overwhelming support for domestic solar manufacturing, with 9 out of 10 respondents and nearly 100% of voters who identify as liberal, saying that it is important for the United States to manufacture renewable energy equipment like solar panels here in America. As first reported by Axios, the bottom line is that “U.S. voters want an ethical transition to green energy,” which is why they overwhelmingly oppose continued reliance on Chinese solar imports.

Voters’ top concerns about Chinese-made solar panels include the use of forced labor (79%), U.S. taxpayer dollars being used to purchase Chinese equipment (78%), and China’s utilization of coal-fired power plants in its solar manufacturing supply chain (76%). Three quarters of polled voters (76%) said that they were concerned about the overall impact on climate change and carbon emissions as a consequence of the U.S. solar industry’s reliance on imported solar panels.

When it comes to support for the U.S. domestic solar manufacturing industry, a significant majority (83%) of voters think Congress should prohibit taxpayer dollars from going toward the purchase of solar panels with materials made from forced labor in China. Additionally, a significant majority of voters (71%) support the Biden administration expanding the Buy American Act to support U.S. domestic solar manufacturers. Significantly, three times as many voters, and a majority (54%) of Democrats, said that long-term solar manufacturing jobs are most valuable to the U.S. economy in contrast to just 16% of respondents who want to prioritize solar installation jobs.

“Voters — including an overwhelming majority of Democrats and Independents — are sending a strong message to the Biden administration and Members of Congress that action must be taken to support U.S. domestic solar manufacturers,” said Nick Iacovella, CPA’s Senior Vice President, Public Affairs & Communications. “In particular, voters overwhelmingly reject the arguments made by key Biden administration officials like John Kerry that the U.S. must continue importing solar panels produced by forced labor in China and with coal-fired power plants in order to meet climate goals. Importantly, a significant majority of voters — over 70 percent — support President Biden expanding the Buy American Act to support U.S. domestic solar manufacturers and nearly three times as many voters believe that Congress should prioritize long-term solar manufacturing jobs in the U.S.”

 

Voters will not support candidates who want to import solar panels manufactured in China or in Chinese-controlled factories in Southeast Asia.

  • A significant majority (61%) of voters, including 66% of Democrats, say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who opposes importing solar energy equipment produced in coal-fired power plants. China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia rely heavily on solar panels and inputs produced with coal-fired power.
  • All key demographics agree that they are more likely to vote for a candidate that opposes importing solar energy equipment that was produced in coal-fired power plants.
  • A significant majority (55%) of voters, including 60% of Independents, say they are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports addressing climate change by importing solar panels manufactured in China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia that are linked to the use of forced labor.
  • A significant majority of voters (57%) are less likely to vote for a candidate who supports importing solar panels produced with coal-fired power plants in China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia.

 

Voters overwhelmingly believe that the U.S. should not import solar panels manufactured in China or in Chinese-controlled factories in Southeast Asia.

  • 79% of voters say a candidate’s policy on importing solar panels made with Chinese materials is important. Democrats, more so than Republicans, indicate that a candidate’s policy on importing solar panels made with Chinese materials is important when voting.
  • A significant majority (83%) of voters think it is important that federal office holders ensure taxpayer dollars do not go toward purchasing solar panels with materials made from forced labor in China.
  • A significant majority (76%) of voters are concerned that the majority of solar panels are produced by China and China-controlled factories that source raw materials from Chinese producers that use forced labor.
  • A significant majority of voters (69%) agree the U.S. should stop importing solar panels from China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia because the production is not environmentally friendly, and the materials are manufactured using forced labor.
  • A significant majority (62%) of voters oppose importing solar products made with coal-fired power plants in China.

 

Voters overwhelmingly support U.S. domestic renewable energy manufacturers.

  • An overwhelming majority — 9 out of 10 voters and nearly 100% of voters who identify as liberal — think it’s important for the United States to manufacture renewable energy equipment like solar panels here in America. 
  • A significant majority of voters (70%) believe the United States should not be dependent on China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia for renewable energy imports.
  • A significant majority of voters (80%) agree that America should rely on solar panels produced domestically with fewer carbon emissions rather than imports manufactured in China or China-controlled factories in Southeast Asia.

 

Voters overwhelmingly support the federal government — and President Joe Biden in particular — taking action to support U.S. domestic solar manufacturers.

  • A significant majority (71%) of voters support the Biden administration taking executive action to expand the Buy American Act so that the federal government is required to purchase renewable energy produced by equipment manufactured in the U.S. to ensure taxpayer dollars only go towards purchasing from U.S. renewable energy manufacturers.
  • Democrats and those over the age of 65 lead support for expanding the Buy American Act to the renewable energy space.
  • A significant majority (78%) of voters are concerned that American taxpayer dollars are used to buy Chinese and other foreign solar panels, which are installed on federal buildings like U.S. military bases.

 

Read the Key Takeaways here. View the full poll results from Morning Consult here and the crosstabs here.

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