The Power Past Coal group has unveiled a new poll of 1,200 likely voters (600 in Washington, 600 in Oregon) showing a majority in both states are opposed to plans to ship coal by rail to new marine export terminals.
The poll was conducted by Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates.
Earlier polls tended to show that supporters of coal export terminals, including the Gateway Pacific Terminal that SSA Marine wants to build in Whatcom County, outnumbered opponents. Power Past Coal spokespersons contend that the new poll shows opposition is growing.
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For our earlier report on past polls, click here. In that earlier report, I noted that the wording of key questions may play a significant role in determining responses, especially among respondents who have not followed the issue closely. Here is the key question asked in the newest poll:
"Coal companies propose to ship millions of tons of coal per year through Washington along the Columbia River and through Puget Sound on trains and tankers to Asia, where the coal would be burned in coal-fired power plants. The coal trains would have uncovered rail cars. Would you support or oppose transporting coal through Washington to export to Asia?"
(Oregon was substituted for Washington as appropriate, according to pollsters.)
Power Past Coal has also announced plans for what a spokeswoman termed "an aggressive six-figure ad buy" to air a new commercial called "Washngton Families Against Coal Trains."