Published on May 26th, 2010 | by Susan Kraemer2
Republicans Having Second Thoughts About Dirty Energy
Are Republicans really Democrats to whom anything really bad has yet to happen? Now that America faces a crisis of almost Chernobyl-like proportions; fewer Republicans are thinking in chirpy slogans about scraping the bottom of the barrel for the last few drops of oil.
The gusher on the sea floor is so far out of the range of the human expertise and abilities of oil industry technicians – let alone Government agencies – to rein it in; that it might as well be taking place in outer space. Yet last year 86% of Republicans told Rasmussen they were fine with Drill, Baby, Drill.
But in a new Fox News poll, one month after the accident, Republicans’ support for off-shore oil drilling has now dropped to 68%. This brings overall support, according the Fox Poll, down to a new average low of 54% (including the views of Democrats and Independents), from a combined average of 72% support in August of 2009.A Rasmussen poll at the beginning of May showed that Republican support already had fallen in two steep drops from their original 86% support baseline last year – at a time when the entire RNC energy strategy was Drill, Baby, drill!
Already, their support had sunk to 77% two weeks after the explosion, when the full extent of the catastrophe was still not as well known.
The steepest drops of 20% come from a state that is in the direct line of fire, Florida. Republican support there has dropped to a tepid 57%.
Florida is a tourism state that has been directly impacted by off-shore drilling problems over time, so support has never been as high as the national average, for all three groups. The support of Independents – as always, in the middle – has gone from a 51% baseline down to 27%. Support amongst Florida Democrats was only at a 36% baseline before this crisis: now that is down to just 19%. Florida’s views are key to passing the climate bill.
For the “No Government” Party, this crisis may be a wake up call. The solution to dirty energy is waiting. Good government policy exists to get us started on the alternative – which is clean energy – if only Republican Senators would stop stonewalling it. The American Power Act is due back from the CBO in June, and teed up for a vote.
Putting an accurate price on the costs of dirty energy helps move us to clean energy. The very carefully negotiated climate bill, whatever its perceived flaws, does puts a hard price on pollution for the first time.
The cap in the American Power Act places an ever-tightening lid on allowable pollution. Both the price paid and the new first-ever limits placed will force companies like BP to really think Beyond Petroleum – about solar and wind, and not just pretend.