The Public Blames President Bush and Big Oil for Energy Problems

There’s a lot of debate in Congress these days over how to solve our energy problems. Whether that will result in real progress in this area remains to be seen. The public, for its part, is looking for action and is strongly convinced that too little is currently being done.

An early June Gallup poll found that just 17 percent of respondents said that President Bush is doing enough to solve the country’s energy problems, compared to an overwhelming 78 percent who said he is not doing enough.

 

The two top culprits for the country’s energy problems, according to the public, are U.S. oil companies and the Bush administration. In the same Gallup poll, 60 percent said U.S. oil companies deserve “a great deal” of blame, and 49 percent said the Bush administration deserved that level of blame. This is up from just 20 percent who blamed the Bush administration in May 2001.

The public is clearly convinced that solving our energy problems will require new programs and that the market alone cannot forge our path toward use of alternative energy. In a mid-June ABC News/Washington Post poll, the public, by 2-1 (63 percent to 32 percent) said that the government should offer tax breaks to companies to develop alternative energy sources, rather than leave it to the marketplace to develop these sources. It’s time for policymakers to take advantage of this public openness toward new energy initiatives.