Survey Release: Midterm Voters Want Action on Clean Energy Policy
National Survey Shows Clean Energy Will Remain a Key Issue in Future Elections
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
DECEMBER 6, 2018 – WASHINGTON D.C. — Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions Forum (CRES Forum) and the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) today released the results of a national post-election survey that suggests clean energy policy is important to a strong majority of midterm voters—voters who are looking for real action from their elected officials in the years ahead. Commissioned by CRES Forum and CEN, and orchestrated by Public Opinion Strategies and WPA Intelligence, the survey found strong support among Republicans and Democrats alike for government action to accelerate development and use of clean energy in the United States. Further, results showed a supermajority of voters (81%) across party affiliations and all four regions of the country say they would vote for elected officials who support clean energy development such as wind and solar.
“These survey results represent what we have seen time and time again—that voters understand the benefits of clean energy policy and they want action. Bipartisan consensus exists across America in support of commonsense solutions to accelerate the development and use of more innovative, affordable, and reliable forms of clean energy. Most interestingly to me, is that 85% of the important suburban women vote are noticeably outpacing support of government action to accelerate the use of clean energy in the U.S. To me, that signals that candidates who want to attract that voting demographic should embrace clean energy technologies and policies that are important in their states. Looking ahead to the start of the 116th Congress and legislatures around the country, a tremendous opportunity exists for Republican state and federal policymakers to command the attention of voters across the political spectrum by seizing upon clean energy solutions. Policymakers have an opportunity to focus on clean energy policies supported by voter sentiment that strengthen our nation’s energy, economic, and environmental security while increasing the competitive edge of America’s energy market,” said CRES Forum Managing Director Heather Reams.
“This survey demonstrates unequivocal support among all demographics for clean energy progress in America,” said Mark Pischea, president of CEN. “Regardless of political affiliation, voters overwhelmingly want their elected officials to be leaders in the development of clean energy by enacting policies that encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and greater market access for new technologies. On electricity specifically, Republicans and Democrats agree that it’s time we transition from the current monopoly utility model employed by most states, to one based on free-market principles that allows all forms of generation to compete on a level playing field – wind, solar, natural gas, coal, hydro, nuclear, and any other.”
A memorandum summarizing the poll’s findings can be viewed here. Key findings include:
- Clean energy was important to voters in 2018 and will be a key issue in future elections. Over two‐thirds of voters (68%) say that the issue of clean energy was important to their vote in 2018. Additionally, more than three‐quarters (76%) say it is important to them that a candidate for political office shares their opinion on clean energy issues. Thinking ahead to future elections, 81% would vote for a candidate who supports clean energy development like wind and solar.
- Most voters want the United States to put more emphasis on producing domestic energy from wind, solar, and hydropower. Respondents were read six different types of domestic energy and asked whether the U.S. should put more emphasis, less emphasis, or about the same emphasis as it does now. Among voters, 74% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on solar power, 64% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on wind power, and 54% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on hydropower. Additionally, 42% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on natural gas, 27% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on nuclear power, and 16% say the U.S. should put more emphasis on coal.
- Voters favor government action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy in the U.S. but prefer to drive development through free-market policies. Eighty-one percent of voters support government action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy in the United States, including over half (54%) who strongly support such action. Support is strong among Republicans (67%), Independents (76%), and Democrats (95%). Suburban women (85%) are notably outpacing the topline support for government action to accelerate the use of clean energy in the U.S. When given a choice, nearly two-thirds of voters (63%) would prefer increasing clean energy development through competition and free-market policies, while 31% favor government mandates and quotas.
- Good policy makes for good politics: a supermajority of voters say they would vote for elected officials who support clean energy development. Fully 81% of voters say they prefer backing elected officials who support clean energy development like wind and solar. Just 13% say they would vote against such officials. Nearly two‐thirds (64%) of Republicans, 74% of Independents, and 97% of Democrats would rather vote for such an official. A notable 83% of suburban women would vote for elected officials who support clean energy development. Voters across all four regions of the country would overwhelmingly support such officials, including 83% in the Northeast, 79% in the Midwest, 79% in the South and 82% in the West.
- Voters prefer a new system for purchasing electricity that benefits the environment, accelerates the availability of new technology, and creates more choices. Fully 83% of voters prefer a new system for purchasing electricity that would allow people to choose where they purchase electricity from and how it’s generated. Just 15% prefer the current system, in which nearly everyone purchases their electricity from one monopoly utility. Additionally, 78% of voters believe America is capable of creating a new electricity system that benefits the environment, accelerates the availability of new technology, and creates more choices by opening up markets to competition; while just 20% believe the current monopoly system works fine as it is and that changing it will create confusion, reduce reliability, and result in higher costs.
To learn more about the polling and for a deeper dive on the analysis of the results, please join CRES Forum and CEN on Wednesday, December 19, at 1:00 PM ET for a webinar. Registration is required, and a recording will be made available afterwards. Register now: https://register.gotowebinar.com/register/654663912081380876
Public Opinion Strategies conducted a national survey on the topic of clean energy. The survey was completed November 8‐12, 2018, among 800 respondents who voted in the 2018 election, with 320 of the interviews done among cell phone respondents. The survey has a margin of error of +3.46% in 95 out of 100 cases.
CRES Forum is a 501(c)(3) non-partisan, non-profit organization committed to educating the public and influencing the national conversation about commonsense clean energy. www.cresforum.org.
Formed in 2016, the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) is a 501(c)(3) non-profit coalition of more than 20 state-based conservative clean energy organizations. CEN works closely with its state teams and allies to depoliticize energy issues by offering conservative, free market-oriented policy solutions that create jobs, spark innovation, conserve our natural resources, protect ratepayers, secure market access for new technologies, and increase our grid and national security. CEN supports and promotes the work performed by its state teams to educate policymakers and the public on the benefits of a clean energy transition. www.conservativeenergynetwork.org
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