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76% of African-Americans Want Delay on Climate Legislation Until Economy Recovers

WASHINGTON – 76% of African-Americans want Congress to make economic recovery, not climate change, its top priority, says a newly released nationwide poll of African-Americans conducted by the National Center for Public Policy Research.

The poll’s release comes as the U.S. House of Representatives is planning a Friday vote on the Waxman-Markey cap-and-trade climate bill. The legislation, if adopted, is expected to reduce aggregate GDP by $7.4 trillion in an effort to reduce global warming.

The survey of 800 African-Americans, 80% Democrats and 4% Republicans, found significant concern that government action on climate change would have a harmful and disproportionately negative impact on the African-American community.

Among the key findings:

* 38% believe job losses from climate change legislation would be felt most strongly in the black community. 7% believe job losses would fall most on Hispanics and 2% on whites;

* 56% believe Washington policymakers have failed to adequately consider economic and quality of life concerns of the black community when addressing climate issues;

* 52% of respondents don’t want to pay more for gasoline or electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 73% are unwilling to pay more than 50 cents more for a gallon of gas; 76% are unwilling to pay more than $50 more per year for electricity;

* Black Americans are virtually deadlocked on plans to reduce emissions if it would increase prices and unemployment. 44% opposed reductions under these circumstances, 45% supported them.

* 76% want Congress to make economic recovery the top priority.

“An overwhelming majority African-Americans want Congress to fix the economy before turning its attention to climate change,” said David Ridenour, vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, who directs the group’s Center for Public Opinion Policy Center, which issued the poll.

“Significantly,” Ridenour continued, “not only were 80 percent of the respondents self-identified Democrats, but 67 percent self-identified as ‘strong Democrats.’ As African-Americans are a core constituency of the party, if the Congressional leadership ignores this, it does so at its own peril.”

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