As the 2012 presidential election draws near, more voters say they prefer the energy policies espoused by President Barack Obama than Gov. Mitt Romney's energy platform, according to the latest University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll results released today.
While support from Democrats and Republicans fell along party lines, Obama garners more support from Libertarian voters (48 percent vs. 21 percent for Romney) and independent voters (27 percent vs. 23 percent for Romney).
Overall, 37 percent of respondents say Obama's platform is best for the country, while 28 percent favor Romney's views on energy. More than a third of those surveyed (35 percent) are not sure whose energy policies they prefer or are undecided.
The online nationwide survey, conducted Sept. 617, offers further insights into how energy issues might affect the upcoming presidential election. This is the third wave of the Energy Poll, which was launched in October 2011.
"While job creation and the economy continue to top the list of concerns, two out of three consumers say energy issues are important to them," said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll. "Support for increased production of domestic energy supplies remains strong, and we're also seeing a lot of interest in the promotion of alternative forms of energy and energy-saving technologies that crosses party lines."
Sixty-two percent of the 2,092 poll respondents say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who says he will increase funding for scientific and university research into new energy technologies, and 58 percent would back a candidate promising to expand natural gas development.
Consumers also support an increase in renewable forms of energy, with 58 percent saying they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports additional financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. Meanwhile, 40 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports decreasing the use of coal as an energy source (46 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans).
The poll also shows a notable rise in the willingness of consumers to adopt new energy technologies. Between September 2011 and September 2012, the percentage of consumers who say they will use "smart meter" technology within the next five years rose from 38 percent to 45 percent. Similarly, more consumers indicate they are likely to own a hybrid vehicle (30 percent to 36 percent during the same timeframe).
Other findings from the UT Energy Poll include:
- Between March and September 2012, the percentage of respondents who say that climate change is occurring jumped from 65 percent to 73 percent. This increase occurred across all political parties (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and independent voters) with the greatest change notable in the southern states (57 percent to 71 percent).
- When asked to report their level of knowledge on energy issues, 45 percent of men consider themselves knowledgeable, while just 20 percent of women do.
- Ninety-two percent of respondents are concerned about the cost of gasoline, and 63 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate promising to make it less expensive.
Data from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample's composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development.
For charts and more information, visit www.utenergypoll.utexas.edu