August 28, 2008
Poll Shows Energy Cost Acceptable Xyxyxy 36 Xyxy Xyxyx
By Keith Rogers
By KEITH ROGERS
In six Western states, a majority of likely voters are willing to pay higher prices for energy from clean renewable resources such as wind and solar rather than continue to rely on oil, natural gas and coal for power, an independent regional poll has found.
In all, 64 percent of the 2,400 respondents said they would be willing to pay more for clean energy, and 28 percent said they would be reluctant to do so. Eight percent weren't sure. In Nevada, 69 percent said they would be willing, while 25 percent said they would not be, with 6 percent unsure.
On a related issue, 69 percent of those polled in the Western region said they support drilling for oil and gas on public lands, and 47 percent favor drilling over protecting public lands from environmental damage, including half of the Nevada respondents.
"It's about becoming energy independent," said Brad Coker, managing partner of the firm that conducted the poll.
"Most people understand that we don't have enough oil to be independent so we need other sources to help," he said. "People just want more energy that is domestically produced."
The poll, taken by telephone Aug. 13-15, was commissioned jointly by the Review-Journal, the Denver Post and the Salt Lake Tribune, and conducted by Mason-Dixon Polling & Research Inc., a Washington, D.C.-based polling firm. The margin of error for results of the poll of likely voters in Nevada, Arizona, Colorado, New Mexico, Utah and Wyoming, is plus or minus 2 percentage points. Nevada specific results carry a margin of error of plus or minus 5 percentage points.
Coker said the respondents' views appear to be driven by the energy crisis and the impact on the economy of the nation's $700 billion-per-year addiction to foreign oil.
"When the price of gas hit $4 per gallon, people woke up and said, 'Something's got to give,'" he said Thursday.
"The more immediate pressing concern is that we have plenty of energy so the price of gas doesn't double in six months. This is a let's-do-everything approach," Coker said.
"The big picture is people want everything done that can be done to make energy more affordable and available," he said.
That mind-set was reflected in respondents' answers to the question: Do you feel the moratorium on oil shale development should be lifted to provide a new source of energy, or kept in effect to protect the environment?
A clear majority, 58 percent, favored lifting the moratorium while 28 percent said they want it kept in place. Fourteen percent weren't sure.
In Nevada, respondents aligned themselves with the regional average with 58 percent in favor of lifting the moratorium on oil shale development.
The poll was conducted a week before the National Clean Energy Summit in Las Vegas.
Do you support or oppose drilling for oil and gas on public lands?
Support 66 69%
Oppose 20 21
Undecided 14 10
Which do you feel should have higher priority: drilling for oil and gas on public lands to find new sources of fuel or protecting public lands from environmental damage?
Drilling 50 47%
Environment 34 35
Not sure 16 18
Most renewable and cleaner sources of energy presently cost more to produce than the current primary sources of energy -
oil, natural gas and coal. Are you willing or not willing to pay higher prices for energy that is created from renewable or cleaner sources?
Willing 69 64%
Not willing 25 28
Not sure 6 8
Do you feel the moratorium on oil shale development should be lifted to provide a new source of energy or kept in effect to protect the environment
Lifted 58 58%
Kept in effect 27 28
Not sure 15 14
The margin of error for the regional poll results is plus or minus 2 percentage points.
The margin of error for the state-specific results is plus or minus f5 percentage points.
SOURCE: Mason-Dixon Polling & Research, Inc
(c) 2008 Las Vegas Review - Journal. Provided by ProQuest LLC. All rights Reserved.