Despite Election: No Divide on Renewable Energy
November 9, 2016
This election has awakened a giant.
In the home stretch of the election cycle, with political polls continuing to fluctuate, one thing has remained constant throughout the entire campaign: Americans agree they want more clean energy, and wind energy in particular.
Earlier this week, one of the gold standards in U.S. polling released a new survey right in line with what we’ve been seeing since the spring. The Pew Research Center found 77 percent of Donald Trump’s supporters and 88 percent of Hillary Clinton’s supporters want more wind farms built in the U.S.
This trend began in the spring, when Wall Street investment firm Lazard, Inc. found 91 percent of likely voters support growing wind power, including 81 percent of self-described conservatives
Over the next several months, other surveys confirmed these findings, regardless of geographical location or political leanings. Results were similar in states as diverse as New York and Texas. 89 percent of New Yorkers want more wind energy, according to a Nature Conservancy poll, while 85 percent of Texans responded the same way in a poll conducted by a nonpartisan group that supports both natural gas and renewable energy.
Then there’s Iowa, whose residents know wind energy as well as anyone since the state has the most installed wind power by area in the country. In a poll of the Third District, 91 percent of voters supported wind, demonstrating the more people know about wind, the more they like it.
That’s not too surprising. Wind energy provides a financial boost for communities that host the turbines. In Van Wert County, Ohio, for example, the extra tax base paid for laptops for every student; fully funded the laptop repair and replacement fund; and built a new athletic center that was opened to every county resident.
It’s good for everyone who pays an electric bill, too. Wind-generated electricity has come down in cost by two-thirds in six years, and now saves consumers billions of dollars a year on each of the regional electric grids in America.
In a time of division, wind power continues to be an issue that unites Americans.
WASHINGTON—Hundreds of grassroots activists from across the country gathered on Capitol Hill today for the nation’s largest conservative clean-energy event. Their message: Conservatives want clean energy – and they want their representatives in Congress to lead on this issue.
The crowd skewed young, with most of the attendees under 40, and organizers say that’s something political leaders should pay attention to.
“For young conservatives, clean and efficient energy isn’t something fringe or futuristic. It’s a regular and growing part of their lives, and they want their elected leaders to support renewable energy in common-sense ways that grow the economy, promote energy independence and defend American families from pollution,” said Michele Combs, founder and chair of Young Conservatives for Energy Reform, which co-hosted the event with the Christian Coalition.
Scheduled speakers included Senators Cory Gardner (R-Colorado), Lindsey Graham (R-South Carolina), Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa), and Dean Heller (R-Nevada). Also on the roster: Representatives Chris Gibson (R-New York), Leonard Lance (R-New Jersey), Tom Reed (R-New York), Mark Sanford (R-South Carolina), and David Young (R-Iowa). Business leaders, pollsters, and academics also spoke. Attendees heard that clean energy is growing the economy and creating jobs in state after state.
“The cost of wind power has dropped two-thirds over six years, and much the same can be said of solar and other renewables. Clean energy is now growing faster than any other form of energy in the world,” said Tom Kiernan, CEO of the American Wind Energy Association, which sponsored the event along with Defend Our Future, the Solar Energy Industries Association and Citizens for Responsible Energy Solutions.
“The U.S. is blessed with abundant wind resources and American wind turbines are among the most efficient in the world,” Kiernan said. “Polls show Americans strongly support clean energy and if America doesn’t lead, we stand to lose out on a huge multi-trillion dollar opportunity in the global clean energy market. As a Republican, a business leader, and an American, I want to see this success story continue.”
That enthusiasm for clean energy is shared by conservative Americans under 35, according to a new poll of 940 young conservative voters across the country. The survey, commissioned by Young Conservatives for Energy Reform (YC4ER), found broad support for renewable energy in general, and policies that support it in particular.
Among the young conservatives polled, 73 percent have a favorable view of the renewable energy industry. That’s more than have a favorable view of the natural gas (67 percent), coal (56 percent), or nuclear (52 percent) industries. The renewable energy sector also scored more favorably than the Environmental Protection Agency (59 percent favorable) and environmental groups such as the Sierra Club (57 percent favorable).
Among the young conservative voters polled:
- 72 percent favor encouraging the private sector to solve energy problems through innovation and technology while blocking any top-down, one-size-fits-all approach from the federal government (33 percent strongly support; 39 percent somewhat support).
- 67 percent favor tax credits or subsidies for clean energy research and development (25 percent strongly support; 42 percent somewhat support).
- 66 percent favor tax credits or subsidies for investments in energy efficiency (29 percent strongly support, 37 percent somewhat support).