Overly influenced by certain big-name green groups, misled by their own ideology and perhaps also a bit dazzled by the unlikely stardom of failed-politician-turned-climate-hero Al Gore, Democrats on Capitol Hill seem bent on self-destruction when it comes to climate change.

At issue is palatable opposition to continuing plans for expensive and job-killing cap-and-trade legislation among members of the Democratic Party's most loyal core constituency: African-Americans.

A nationwide poll exclusively of African-Americans nationwide just released by the National Center for Public Policy Research found that 76 percent of African-Americans want action on climate change delayed until after the economy recovers.

The 800 African-Americans surveyed were overwhelmingly Democrat: 80 percent self-identified as Democrats, 67 percent self-reported being "strong" Democrats. Only 4 percent self-identified as Republican.

Yet despite the association of the climate change issue with the Democratic Party and President Barack Obama -- who, according to a CNN/Essence Magazine/Opinion Research Corp. poll released June 25, still receives the support of 96 percent of the African-American community -- black Americans leave the fold in droves when it comes to climate change.

Among the poll's findings:

- 76% of African-Americans want Congress to make economic recovery its top priority, even if it delays action on climate change;

- 38% believe job losses resulting from climate change legislation would fall heaviest on the African-American community. Only 7% believe job losses would fall heaviest on Hispanics and only 2% believe they would fall heaviest on whites;

- 56% believe Washington policymakers have failed to adequately take into account the economic and quality of life concerns of the African-American community when formulating climate change policy;

- 52% of respondents aren't willing to pay anything more for either gasoline or electricity to reduce greenhouse gas emissions. 73% are unwilling to pay more than 50 cents more for a gallon of gas and 76% are unwilling to pay more than $50 more per year for electricity to reduce U.S. greenhouse gas emissions;


David A. Ridenour

David A. Ridenour is vice president of The National Center for Public Policy Research, a position he has held since 1986.

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