As Gas Prices Pinch, Support for Oil and Gas Production Grows
At a time of rising gas prices, more Americans continue to view the development of alternative energy sources as a higher priority than the increased production of oil, coal and natural gas, but the gap has narrowed considerably over the past year.
Partisan Divide Over Alternative Energy Widens
Public support for increased federal funding on research into alternative energy technology, including solar technology, has decreased substantially since the early months of the Obama administration, with nearly all the decline coming from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.
Opposition to Nuclear Power Rises amid Japanese Crisis
Support for the increased use of nuclear power has declined amid the ongoing nuclear emergency in Japan. But with the surge in gas prices, support for increased offshore oil and gas drilling is growing.
Earmarks Could Help Candidates in Midterms; Palin and Tea Party Connections Could Hurt
Across party lines, the public sees earmarking by their congressional candidates as more of an asset than a liability. Americans are divided on the value of Obama in November, while both Palin’s support and Tea Party affiliation are seen by more as negative than positive. On energy, public backs a wide range of goals and policies.
Fueling Both Sides of the Energy Debate
Americans want expanded exploration and development of coal, oil and gas in the U.S. but also want limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions. Michele Obama’s favorability stays strong but the president’s and Sarah Palin’s popularity slip.
Support for Alternative Energy and Offshore Drilling
Americans strongly favor increased funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen technology and more spending on mass transit, but majorities also support offshore drilling and nuclear power. Half have heard nothing at all about “cap and trade.”
Support for Global Engagement Declines
The public’s top long-term foreign policy goals are decidedly America-centric. Defending the country against terrorism, protecting U.S. jobs, and weaning the country from imported energy all draw extensive bipartisan support.
Mixed Signals on Energy Policy
The public remains conflicted in its approach toward energy and the environment, but 55% favor more conservation and regulation compared with 35% who support expanded exploration. Fully 90% favor tighter auto fuel standards.