Alternative Energy Has Wide Support

November 5, 2010

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Analytics, Automated & MarTech | Automotive | CSR & Environmental | Data-driven | Government & Politics | Regulatory

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.

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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%).

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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.

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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.

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