CAP takes voters’ pulse on Republican energy agenda 

Source: Phil Taylor, E&E reporter • Posted: Friday, January 16, 2015

The Center for American Progress this morning released a new poll of likely 2016 voters that it says found strong opposition to the energy and environmental agenda of the Republican leadership in Congress.

The CAP-commissioned poll by Hart Research Associates surveyed 1,101 likely voters by telephone from Dec. 5 to 9 with a 3.1-point margin of error.

It found that Americans’ top priorities are advancing the growth of renewable energy sources, the left-leaning think tank said.

For example, 80 percent of respondents said they support a greater reliance on solar energy over the next five years compared with 24 percent who favored greater reliance on oil.

More than two out of three voters opposed allowing oil and gas companies to export more U.S. oil and gas to foreign countries, including 75 percent of Democrats, 69 percent of independents and 61 percent of Republicans, the poll found.

“The new Congress is already moving quickly on an agenda backed by fossil-fuel interests that would weaken protections for clean air and clean water, roll back investments in renewable energy, fast-track exports of American oil, and prioritize special interest giveaways on America’s public lands,” said former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland (D), a counselor to CAP and president of the CAP Action Fund. “The fossil-fuel agenda of the new Congress is out of step with public opinion, and it’s out of step with the priorities of middle-class families who want more renewable energy, cleaner air for their kids and places that will be set aside for future generations to enjoy.”

The poll did find majority support for some Republican proposals.

It found 55 percent of respondents support opening the Atlantic and Pacific oceans to new oil and gas drilling, and 51 percent supported approval of the Keystone XL pipeline.

The poll also found significant support for domestic drilling and mining.

When asked “which is the better approach for the United States to achieve energy independence from foreign oil,” 44 percent said it was through development of domestic oil, gas and coal, while 41 percent said it was through renewable energy including solar and wind.

But in several other categories, Republicans find themselves among the minority of voters, according to the poll.

A slim majority of respondents said they opposed reducing tax incentives for renewable energy, including solar and wind, and 60 percent opposed opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling.

Nearly 60 percent opposed Republican proposals to block U.S. EPA from regulating carbon dioxide emissions from power plants, and more than two-thirds opposed loosening protections for endangered wildlife.

Nearly three in four respondents opposed selling national forests or public lands to help balance the budget.

Forty-four percent of respondents said they trust President Obama more to have the “right approach” on issues related to energy and the environment, while 40 percent said they trust Republicans in Congress.