the (new) american worker

Gallup: Americans Want Diverse, Economy-Focused Energy Policies
March 21, 2010, 10:49 pm
Filed under: jobs | Tags: , , ,

Gallup has run a number of polls this month that have really captured the current American sentiment on Obama’s ramped-up energy rhetoric and policy initiatives. The results demonstrate a rather conservative consciousness on energy, as in a March 13 poll where only 30% of respondents indicated support for reducing financial incentives for the oil and gas industries. In addition, 28% of respondents stated that current financial incentives for oil and gas should be maintained. Gallup condenses this information into a simple, powerful fact – 2 out of every 3 Americans believe the federal government should continue to support traditional energy sources like oil and gas. If anyone is wondering why Obama continues to pursue an “all colors of the rainbow” national energy policy – well, there you go.

A recent Gallup poll found that 53 percent of Americans favor economic growth over considerations for the environment.

The March 13 poll also showed an 11 percent tumble in the number of respondents who favor environmental protections over development of energy resources – from 58 percent in 2007 to 47 percent in 2010. Of course, the massive recession our country is still climbing out of likely influences these results. From nuclear to smart-grids, no energy proposal is complete nowadays without the requisite slogan of “jobs, jobs, jobs.” Compare this to the underemployment figure reported by Gallup this week – 20.1 percent – and it’s pretty easy to see why Americans are grasping at anything that resembles economic growth.

This realignment was also evident in another Gallup poll released last Thursday. When asked whether economic growth should be pursued, regardless of adverse environmental affects, 53 percent of respondents answered yes.

In my mind, this confirms what is often written nowadays about renewables like solar and wind – mainstream days are still a long way off. Sure, there may be huge economic potential in some of these projects – greater than the alternatives, in my opinion – but until renewable energy advocates can sell Americans on the idea that this potential exceeds the cost of reduced investment in say, natural gas or clean coal technology, then it looks like the American public will continue to support the old, the new and everything in between.