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Public Opinion Snapshot: Strong Support for Changes in Energy Policy

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With all the brouhaha about health care reform, it’s easy to forget the other big domestic policy priority before Congress: energy policy and climate change. Here the Obama administration’s approach continues to receive solid public support. According to just-released data from ABC News/Washington Post, support is running about a 2-1 ratio for the proposed changes to U.S. energy policy (57 percent to 29 percent). chart on energy policy opinion

Moreover, more people think these changes would add jobs in their state than believe jobs would be lost (36 percent to 15 percent). Evidently, conservative attempts to characterize the energy bill as a huge job-loser have so far failed to sway the public. chart on energy policy opinion

Support for a “cap-and-trade” approach to greenhouse gas regulation has also been holding steady. In June, there was a 52-42 support for this approach; today it’s an essentially identical 52-43 in favor.

chart on energy policy opinion

Finally, it’s worth noting that the public’s top-five-rated policy steps to address our country’s energy needs all involve alternative energy and conservation, not fossil fuels or nuclear: develop more solar and wind power (91 percent in favor); require car manufacturers to improve the fuel efficiency of vehicles sold in this country (85 percent); develop electric car technology (82 percent); require more energy conservation by businesses and industries (78 percent); and require more energy conservation by consumers (73 percent).

It’s clear which way the public wants to go. Let’s hope Congress follows along. chart on energy policy opinion

Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Culture page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.

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This is part of a regular column: Public Opinion Snapshot

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