A new New York Times/CBS poll contains extremely interesting results with regard to a gas tax.

Unfortunately, the write-up in the NYT is rather garbled. Best to go look at the poll itself (PDF).

If you ask people straight out, "do you favor a gas tax," the answers is overwhelmingly (85%) No. Even if you promise to reduce other taxes –payroll and income — by the same amount, the answer is still (63%) No.

But if the question is, "would you support a gas tax if it reduced U.S. dependence on foreign oil" or "would you support a gas tax if it cut down on energy consumption and reduced global warming," the results reverse pretty dramatically. The "foreign oil" question gets 55% in favor and the "energy consumption and global warming" question gets 59% in favor.

(Even more intriguing: When the question is, "would you support a gas tax if the proceeds were used to fight the war on terror," 71% still oppose.)

Take-home message: U.S. citizens want to reduce oil use, energy consumption, and global warming. And they’re willing to pay for it.

For chrissake, if we have any politicians left with a pair and the sense God gave a turkey, they would jump on this. Americans crave it. They want to be asked to sacrifice. They want to be involved. They just need an opportunity.

Update [2006-2-27 23:56:31 by David Roberts]: In other poll news, President Bush’s approval rating just hit 34%.