Gallup Poll Shows Strong Support for Renewables in U.S.

The general public in the United States continues to support renewable energy sources and energy efficiency standards, according to the latest poll from the Gallup Organization.

PRINCETON, New Jersey, US, 200-01-03 [SolarAccess.com] Ninety-one percent of respondents favour investments in “new sources of energy, such as solar, wind, and fuel cells,” according to polls conducted May 7 and November 8. Both polls showed 91 percent of support, but the May survey said 6 percent oppose renewables and 3 percent had no opinion while, in November, opposition rose to 8 percent while respondents with no opinion dropped to 1 percent. “America’s energy concerns of the past year have been overshadowed by the events of September 11 and the attacks on Afghanistan,” says Gallup. “However, the memories of electricity shortages, and $2-a-gallon gasoline, apparently remain strong for many.” The desire to increase electricity supply from nuclear power slipped over the six month period, dropping from 48 percent in May to 42 percent in November. Gallup speculates that this drop “may well be linked to the events of September 11, which pointed out the potential vulnerability of nuclear power facilities to terrorist attacks.” Earlier this year, electricity grids around the U.S. were struggling to meet demand, and many Americans see a need for new power plants. More than 80 percent of respondents favour investing in new generation plants. When gasoline prices were peaking in May at US$2 per gallon in many parts of the U.S., 85 percent supported mandates that future cars be more energy-efficient. With the drop in prices since then, support for efficiency has dropped to 77 percent. The terrorist attacks highlighted U.S. dependence on foreign sources of oil, but caused only a slight increase in support for the proposal by President George Bush to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska for exploration. By a majority of 51 percent, the U.S. public opposes opening ANWR to oil exploration, down from the 57 percent opposition level in May. Opposition is strongest in the east (55 percent) and the west (54 percent), despite the expected use of ANWR oil to help increase gasoline supplies on the west coast, explains Gallup. The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 512 adults, with a plus/minus error margin of 5 percent..

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