Large majorities of Americans support alternative energy regulations, although a smaller majority believes in global warming and offshore drilling support is increasing, according to a new poll from the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press.
8 in 10 Want Better Fuel Efficiency
When asked about alternative energy policy, 79% of US adults want requirements for better fuel efficiency, and 74% want more funding for alternative energy.
Smaller majorities want more mass transit funding (63%) and more tax incentives for hybrid/electric vehicles (60%). Alternative energy does not necessarily mean “green” energy, as 45% want to promote more nuclear power use.
6 in 10 Believe in Global Warming, Fewer Say It’s Man-Made
Fifty-nine percent of US adults say there is solid evidence that the Earth’s average temperature has been getting warmer over the past few decades. However, only 34% believe it is due to human activity. While these figures are little changed from 2009, in July 2006 much higher percentages both believed in global warming (79%) and human activity being responsible (50%).
1 in 3 Says Global Warming is ‘Very Serious’
About one-third (32%) of US adults say global warming is a very serious, while another 31% say it somewhat serious and 16% say it is not too serious. Eighteen percent say global warming is not a problem at all.
These figures are also little changed from last year, but show a marked decrease in concern about global warming since July 2006. At that time, 43% said global warming is a very serious problem, and only 9% said it is not a problem.
Less than Half Want Govt. Action
Forty-six percent of US adults want government action regarding global warming, down from 61% in July 2006. Interestingly, the percentage not wanting government action remained almost flat (26% in July 2006 and 29% in October 2010). However, the percentage saying global warming is not a problem jumped from 10% to 21%.
Offshore Drilling Support Rebounds
Currently, 51% of Americans favor allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in US waters, while 41% are opposed. In June 2010, during the Gulf of Mexico oil leak, there was more opposition (52%) than support (44%) for increased offshore drilling.
Support for expanded offshore drilling is still lower than it was in February 2010, before the Gulf oil leak, when the public backed more offshore drilling in US waters by a two-to-one margin (63% favor, 31% oppose). From the fall of 2008 to early this year, opinion about offshore drilling had been fairly stable.
Most Support Expanded Exploration despite Desire for Regs
A commanding 87% majority of US adults want a provision in comprehensive energy legislation to require utilities to produce more energy from renewable sources and 78% want tougher efficiency standards, according to a June 2010 Pew Research Center poll. Despite this support, 68% also want a provision to expand exploration for coal, gas and oil. However, 66% want limits on carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gas emissions.
About the Data: This national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press was conducted Oct. 13-18, 2010 among 2,251 US adults reached on landlines and cell phones.