Election-week polls find voters support both clean energy and offshore drilling
Seventy-eight percent of voters believe that investing in clean energy is important to revitalizing the economy, according to a new Zogby International poll commissioned by the National Wildlife Federation. The findings support growing calls for a green economic-stimulus package.
The poll of 3,357 voters nationwide, conducted Nov. 5-6, found that support for green investment is even higher among voters ages 18-24, at 87 percent.
“While the economy was the top issue in the 2008 election, clean energy clearly emerged as part of voter expectations for getting the economy back on track,” said John Zogby, president of Zogby International.
Fifty-seven percent of all age groups surveyed said it was important to them in this election to back candidates who supported reducing greenhouse-gas emissions, compared to 49 percent in 2006. And 60 percent said they wanted their elected officials to make global warming a high priority, compared to 58 percent in 2006.
Some of the most interesting numbers were in population subsets. Among African-American voters, 85 percent said it’s important to elect candidates who will address global-warming pollution, up from 59 percent in 2006. Seventy percent of Hispanic voters also said it’s important, up from 62 percent in 2006.
Among those who identify as political independents, 57 percent said it’s important to elect candidates who will address global warming, an 8-point rise over 2006. Seventy percent of self-identified “moderates” agreed, up from 64 percent in 2006.
Among voters ages 18-24, 70 percent said that the candidates’ support of action on global warming was important to their electoral decision, up from 56 percent in 2006.
Another poll conducted on behalf of the Sierra Club found 50 percent of voters saying that energy issues were important to them in deciding how to vote in the presidential election this year.
Lake Research Partners talked to 1,200 voters nationwide on Nov. 3-4 and found that 62 percent at least remembered hearing Obama and McCain discuss energy issues and global warming. Of those, 49 percent thought Obama had a better plan for investing in clean energy, compared to 35 percent who favored McCain. Forty-three percent said there was a very clear difference between the two on these issues.
The Washington Post looked at exit polls conducted Tuesday on behalf of major news organizations and found that 7 percent of respondents said energy policy is the most important issue facing the country. Those voters split fairly evenly between the two candidates — 50 percent for Obama and 46 percent for McCain.
The exit polls also found that almost 50 percent of those who voted for Obama favored “drilling for oil offshore in U.S. waters where it is currently not allowed,” while 45 percent opposed it. Ninety percent of McCain voters supported offshore drilling. And of the 28 percent of voters polled who said they either “strongly opposed” or “somewhat opposed” increasing offshore drilling, 86 percent voted for Obama.