Thursday, November 10, 2011

Republicans View Gov't Alternative Energy Investments as Unnecessary

Public support for increased federal funding on research into alternative energy technology, including solar technology, has decreased substantially since the early months of the Obama administration, with nearly all the decline coming from Republicans and Republican-leaning independents.

The latest national survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press and The Washington Post, conducted Nov. 3-6 among 1,005 adults, finds that overall, 68% of the public favors increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar and hydrogen energy technology while 26% are opposed. From 2006 through early 2009, roughly 80% supported increased federal funding for alternative energy research.

Since April 2009, there has been a 30-point decline in the percentage of Republicans and Republican leaners supporting more federal funding for research into alternative energy technologies. Currently, 53% favor this policy, down from 82% in April 2009. There has been little change in opinions among Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents. Currently, 83% of Democrats favor increased funding for research into alternative energy technologies.

Two-thirds (68%) of Democrats and Democratic leaners say government investment in new energy is necessary. Most Republicans and GOP leaners (59%) say businesses will produce technology without government investment.

Support for government funding for alternative energy research has fallen since 2009, but this policy continues to draw more support than other ways to address America’s supply. Nearly six-in-ten (58%) favor more oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters and the same percentage favors allowing more mining and drilling on federally owned land.

More Americans continue to oppose (53%) than favor (39%) promoting the increased use of nuclear power. Only about four-in-ten (38%) favor government subsidies for ethanol production as a policy for addressing the U.S. energy supply. Nearly half (48%) oppose ethanol subsidies.

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