People involved in climate politics are always throwing polls at each other purporting to "prove" that the public likes this policy or hates that policy or wants this or doesn't want that. Everyone, at every point on the political spectrum, has a set of polls showing that the public supports their positions. I've done quite a bit of poll-pumping myself. The reality is, though, that polling on these issues tells us very little about how the politics will unfold.
To see why, let's take a look at the newly published results of Brookings' Spring 2012 National Survey of American Public Opinion on Climate Change [PDF].
Here's how the results are being pitched: The public rejects the climate policies that economists prefer -- market-based options like carbon pricing through a tax or cap-and-trade system -- and embraces the climate policies that give economists hives, namely mandates, standards, and regulations. Also, the results show a considerable partisan divide.
Couple things to say about this.