Iowa: Poll finds both parties agree on renewable fuels

Source: By James Q. Lynch, Des Moines Bureau, Iowa Framer Today • Posted: Tuesday, November 10, 2015

CEDAR RAPIDS — If there’s one thing likely Republican and Democratic caucus-goers agree on, it’s their support for renewable fuels and the Renewable Fuel Standard.

A survey of more than 800 possible caucus-goers found 61 percent of Republicans and 76 percent of Democrats would be more likely to support a candidate who supports progress in the area of renewable fuels.

Support for the RFS was nearly identical among Republicans and Democrats, according to a Selzer & Company survey of 400 GOP and 405 Democratic likely caucusgoers. It found 84 percent and 88 percent respectively say the RFS is good for Iowa.

Once informed about the RFS, which requires that a certain percentage of renewable fuels — ethanol, for example — be blended into the gasoline supply, 79 percent of Republicans and 90 percent of Democratic likely caucus-goers say the RFS is good for the nation.

“THIS IS not a Republican thing or a Democratic thing,” said Eric Branstad, state director for America’s Renewable Future. “This is an American thing. This represents the future.”

Among the other findings:

  • 75 percent of Republicans and 87 percent of Democrats endorsed lower greenhouse gas emissions compared to gasoline as a good reason to continue the RFS.
  • 88 percent of Republicans and 93 percent of Democrats react favorably to the strong job and wage benefits the RFS ensures for Iowa.
  • 86 percent of Republicans and 92 percent of Democrats say the hundreds of thousands of American jobs the RFS ensures across the country are a good reason to continue the program.

“Few issues enjoy such strong bipartisan support,” Branstad said. “The results certainly speak for themselves.”

The results come as no surprise to Jan Koninckx, global business director for biofuels at DuPont, which is commissioning a cellulosic ethanol plant in Nevada.

“EVEN IF not surprising, it’s encouraging to see this result, that indeed this issue is not divisive, not partisan,” he said. “People really united behind this.”

For good reason, Koninckx said, because ethanol “is really at the cusp here of transforming the transportation fuel market from what is typically a centralized model with large facilities based on fossil supply chains spanning the world to a much more distributed model, much more local and absolutely clean and renewable.”

The Nevada plant will show a 90 percent greenhouse gas reduction vs. fossil gasoline, Koninckx said.

Branstad said the survey results will be shared with likely caucus-goers to educate them about where the candidates stand on renewable fuels issues “and let them make the decision themselves.”

The results also will be shared with candidates, including those who oppose the RFS, to educate them on what this issue is and what it means to Iowans, he said. His group will use the survey to show candidates “where Iowans stand and how they will vote caucus night.”