Iowa voters support ethanol — poll 

Source: Amanda Peterka, E&E reporter • Posted: Monday, June 22, 2015

The majority of Iowa voters have a favorable view of ethanol, according to a new survey released by a group that’s trying to make the renewable fuel standard a key part of the upcoming Iowa presidential caucuses.

The poll found that 72 percent of respondents are fans of the corn-based fuel, and 71 percent believe increased production of ethanol benefits the entire economy. The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association commissioned the poll, which was conducted by the Tarrance Group.

“This is virtually a universal opinion across geography and voter groups,” Tarrance Group President and CEO Ed Goeas said in a statement. “Not a single subgroup of the electorate fails to hold a majority favorable opinion.”

The Iowa Renewable Fuels Association is a founding member of America’s Renewable Fuel, an expansive field organization backed by Iowa politicians that aims to spotlight ethanol and the federal renewable fuel standard as presidential contenders travel to the state. The RFS requires that refiners use certain amounts of ethanol and advanced biofuels in petroleum gasoline and diesel.

The Tarrance Group conducted the telephone poll of 500 registered Iowa voters June 8-10. It has a 4.5-point margin of error.

The poll also found that most Iowa voters are opposed to lowering refiners’ ethanol requirements in the renewable fuel standard program. Fifty-six percent said they were opposed to reducing ethanol requirements in the RFS.

That number rose when respondents were told that the corn-based fuel increased energy independence and reduced greenhouse gas emissions, among other ethanol industry talking points.

“Voters start out opposed to the lowering of ethanol content in fuel as part of the Renewable Fuel Standard and the facts only help to make the case,” a memorandum about the poll says.

U.S. EPA recently released a proposal that calls for year-by-year increases in the amount of ethanol in gasoline but that reduces refiners’ ethanol requirements compared to the level called for by Congress when it passed the renewable fuel standard in 2007.

Also among the poll’s findings was that 57 percent of Iowa voters were less likely to support a candidate for public office who opposed an increase in federal ethanol requirements. Sixty-three percent of Democratic voters said they were less likely to support an anti-ethanol candidate, while only 49 percent of Republican voters said they were less likely to support one.