Americans Back California's Ability to Set Own Fuel Emissions, Despite Trump's Challenge

Although President Donald Trump rejected California's attempt to impose stricter fuel limits than those in place nationally, saying that his move would create "JOBS, JOBS, JOBS," some Americans don't agree with his decision.

The president announced last month that would revoke a decades-old rule that allowed California to set its own emissions standards.

Despite Trump's challenge to California, 49 percent of adults said they supported California's setting its fuel efficiency standards, according to a YouGov poll released on Monday. Only 27 percent of respondents oppose the state's decision to set its own fuel standards.

The president sought to frame his decision as a trade-off between more stringent environmental standards and job creation--an argument Trump has previously made to promote environmental deregulation. But the poll found that most Americans, 78 percent, think that both jobs and the environment can be protected. And, if forced to prioritize jobs or the environment, more would select the environment; 31 percent said that jobs were more important, while 49 percent said the environment is.

The results of the survey were split by party affiliation, reflecting the divided atmosphere that has permeated domestic politics. Only 9 percent of Democrats said they opposed the state's elevated fuel efficiency standards. A higher proportion of Republicans, 27 percent, supported California's fuel efficiency standards.

This polarized atmosphere has informed Trump's dealings with California, which has faced off with the president on a range of issues. Trump has lambasted the state for left-wing policies supporters claim amount to socialism, bemoaned its sanctuary cities, criticized San Francisco's homelessness crisis and threatened to withhold federal aid from the state after forest fires.

California has challenged the president by launching a barrage of lawsuits against his administration's policies. The state had levied 46 lawsuits against the administration by the end of August, according to Fortune. Additionally, California Governor Gavin Newsom has openly criticized Trump.

The fissures broke open again last month, when the administration revoked California's ability to set its own emissions standards. California, which sells more cars than any other state, announced in July that it had come to a deal with four major car companies to codify harsher emissions standards than those at the federal level, which the Trump administration had been planning to roll back. Trump, however, responded by saying he would not allow California to do so. His move to prevent California from implementing its own emissions standards is expected to catalyze a lengthy legal battle.

"It's a move that could have devastating consequences for our kids' health and the air we breathe if California were to roll over," Newsom said in a statement after Trump announced he would challenge the state. "We will fight this latest attempt and defend our clean car standards."

Motor vehicles drive on the 101 freeway in Los Angeles, California on September 17. President Trump has blocked California's attempt to set harsher car emissions standards than those present nationally. ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images