Post-election poll demonstrates that anti-clean energy campaign rhetoric did not stick; voters understand the benefits of clean energy
Washington, DC— The American Council On Renewable Energy (ACORE) released today a new poll of Virginia voters showing that they support the development of clean energy. This result is significant for two reasons: Virginia was a crucial state for both 2012 presidential candidates, and energy was a critical issue in the Virginia election. While the election brought forth increased anti-renewable energy rhetoric, it did not sway public support away from renewable energy. And this result is not unique to Virginia: polling released by ACORE covering other swing states--Colorado, Iowa, and Ohio-- found similar sentiments about the clean energy industry.
A majority of Virginia voters in the presidential election (54 percent) say they would encourage natural gas as an energy source, followed by solar power (50 percent) and wind power (44 percent). Coal ranked fourth for voters, but 72% agree that “rather than using more coal, we should move toward cleaner sources of energy,” a view held across political affiliations including Democrats (94%), Independents (67%) and Republicans (53%).
Tax credits, including the wind energy PTC, continue to be a subject of debate in Washington, DC, and three in five (60 percent) of Virginia voters surveyed say they would be less likely to vote for a candidate seeking to end tax credits for wind and solar (41 percent much less likely), while 34 percent would be more supportive (and only 17 percent much more likely to support such a candidate). 69 percent of Virginia voters also support requiring utilities to get a greater share of their electricity from renewable sources.
These findings were largely consistent with similar polls in Colorado, Iowa, and Ohio which found that energy was an important factor for voters in the 2012 election. Energy eclipsed perennial issues such as abortion and was on par with taxes and foreign policy. Voters preferred to encourage solar, wind, and natural gas rather than coal and other energy sources, and majorities in four states support continued government investment in clean energy and requirements for utilities to increase their use of renewable energy.
“Policymakers take note: swing state voters support clean, renewable energy,” said Vice Admiral (ret.) Dennis McGinn, President and CEO of ACORE. “It is long past time to end the vilification of an industry that is creating jobs, attracting private investment, and contributing to our economic recovery. Clean energy is a business, not a political football, and it should be treated as business.”
"Virginia was a much-watched state in the 2012 election, and today's poll shows that Virginia voters strongly support clean energy -- including solar, wind, and energy efficiency," said Alex Laskey, President and Founder of Opower. "Policymakers in Washington should take note of the strong bipartisan support for these industries, which are creating jobs, attracting private investment, and boosting Virginia's economy."
The bipartisan research team of Public Opinion Strategies (R) and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (D) conducted 400 interviews on Wednesday, November 7th, with voters in Colorado, Iowa, Ohio, and Virginia who cast ballots in Tuesday's Presidential election. Interviews were conducted on landline and wireless phones. The margin of sampling error for the full sample is +/- 4.9%; margins of error for subgroups within the sample will be higher.
To learn more about the poll results, click here: http://bit.ly/QtCkm5
ACORE, a 501(c)(3) non-profit membership organization, is dedicated to building a secure and prosperous America with clean, renewable energy. ACORE seeks to advance renewable energy through finance, policy, technology, and market development and is concentrating its member focus in 2012 on National Defense & Security, Power Generation & Infrastructure, and Transportation. Additional information is available at www.acore.org.