Trump pitch to oil companies turns off two-thirds of likely voters, poll finds

Broad majorities of voters aren’t happy with Trump’s apparent offer of a quid pro quo to oil companies, a poll from an advocacy group has found.

Almost 6 in 10 likely voters surveyed — 58 percent — said they were “concerned” about a second Trump term after hearing about the former president’s reported offer to undo broad swaths of President Biden’s climate policies, according to polling by Data for Progress and Climate Power.

And nearly two-thirds — 61 percent — of likely voters told pollsters they “reconsider” their vote for a politician who made such an offer.

The findings follow reporting earlier this month in The Washington Post that Trump demanded $1 billion from top oil executives at a Mar-a-Lago Club fundraiser — an amount he called a bargain that would allow him to pass a laundry list of industry priorities.

According to the Post, these included reversing the Biden administration’s pause on liquefied natural gas exports “on the first day,” opening the Alaskan Arctic to drilling, auctioning more leases in the Gulf of Mexico and scrapping Biden administration plans to cut pollution from car tailpipes.

A source later confirmed to The Hill that Trump asked oil industry executives for $1 billion in campaign cash.

The development came amid a larger flurry of reporting about the tight relationship between Trump and the oil industry. Earlier this month, Heatmap News reported that “allies of Big Oil” had donated $6.4 million to Trump’s legal defense in his New York hush money trial.

And Wednesday, the former president will appear in Houston at a fundraiser sponsored by Kelcy Warren, chair of pipeline giant Energy Transfer Partners, and Harold Hamm of oil company Continental Resources.

“We’re going to bring our economy back again, drill baby drill, we’re bringing energy prices way down,” Trump told the Dallas-Fort Worth Fox affiliate in a Saturday interview at the National Rifle Association convention.

When painted in broad strokes, these relationships made even a plurality of Republicans uncomfortable, Alex Witt of Climate Power told The Hill.

“A majority of voters would either not vote for — or are reconsidering voting for —  someone who made a deal with oil and gas giants in exchange for campaign donations,” Witt said.

“And what’s really interesting about that is it includes 42 percent of Republicans and a third of independents,” Witt added.

The polling numbers come with an enormous asterisk: Many voters responded very differently when it was not just an anonymous politician but Trump, who remains enormously popular among Republicans.

While 42 percent of Republicans said they would reconsider voting for any politician who said what the former president reportedly did, their concern dissipated when the remarks were attributed to Trump.

On getting that piece of information, 42 percent of Republicans said they would be more likely to vote for the former president as a result, and just 12 percent that they would be less likely to vote for him.

But with razor-thin margins in most polls of the presidential election, and third-party candidate Robert F. Kennedy Jr. looming as a potential spoiler, any loss of support could be a problem for the Trump campaign.

That’s especially true because disaffection among independent voters in the new poll was even more dramatic: 47 percent said they would reconsider a vote for Trump, specifically, after finding out about the reported Mar-a-Lago comments.

The survey’s findings are fueling a new attempt by climate groups to shave off independent voters in battleground states including Arizona, Georgia, Michigan, North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin.

Climate Power launched a new bilingual billboard campaign Monday in the seven states likely to decide November’s election.

“The idea was to meet people with the right message in the place where they’re thinking about it the most,” Witt said, referring to major commuting routes where people would likely be sitting in their cars looking at billboards.

While not mentioning Trump by name, the Climate Power ad buy shows a group of executives with cash raining down on their heads.

“They Profit,” the text reads. “You Pay.”

That campaign riffs off recent allegations by the Federal Trade Commission that oil executive Scott Sheffield of Pioneer Resources colluded with OPEC to keep oil prices high, costing the average family $3,000.

According to journalist Matt Stoller, the Pioneer play may have contributed to more than a quarter of total inflation in 2021.

“We’re anticipating that we’ll see gas prices increasing [this summer] like we do most summers and … people are filling up their car when they’re driving around cities like Atlanta or Phoenix — they’ll know exactly why those prices are going up,” Witt from Climate Action told The Hill.

The group’s new poll surveyed 1,231 likely voters from May 10-13, with a margin of error of 3 percentage points.

The Hill has reached out to the Trump campaign for comment on its findings.

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