“It’s all around us.”
“We have the tools to harness it… So we can use it to power things that improve our lives.”
“Taking back the clean energy debate.”
Those are the banners that run across the Conservative Energy Network (CEN) website, which recently released the results of its 4th annual National Clean Energy Survey. Those findings indicate that clean energy is important across party lines — it doesn’t really matter if you’re a Republican, Democrat, or Independent.
People from all walks of life and political beliefs have strong support for accelerating the development and use of clean energy in the US. While they may differ in how clean energy policy is enacted in their backyards, the CEN survey points out that clean energy policy is an important issue to a majority of voters and will be crucial to the success of candidates in swing districts and states in the 2020 elections.
Clean Energy Consensus Across Party Lines
Commissioned by CEN and conducted by Public Opinion Strategies (about half of their research is dedicated to winning elections), the survey revealed that about 80% of total individuals polled support the US government taking action to accelerate the development and use of clean energy in the US. 61% of Republican voters supported this idea.
“This survey demonstrates that there is strong support for progress in clean energy policy across the nation—and significantly among conservatives as well,” said Mark Pischea, president and CEO of CEN. “Regardless of party, voters overwhelmingly want their elected officials to be leaders in the development of clean energy reform by proposing policies that encourage innovation, entrepreneurship, and greater market access for new technology; this holds true for Trump supporters also.”
Here is an overview of the survey findings. A majority of individuals who participated in this survey:
- support markets instead of mandates –70% preferred approaches that allow markets and business to provide more clean energy production, compared to implementing government mandates and quotas
- favor electricity choice/competition options — 79% support a new system for purchasing electricity that allows people to have a choice of where and what kind of electricity to buy, compared to 17% of voters who want to keep the current system
- want their state to be identified as a national leader in clean energy development — 81% agree that their state should be accelerating the growth of clean energy to be identified as a national leader in the competition for economic development and high paying jobs
Tyler Duvelius, executive director of the Ohio Conservative Energy Forum, affirmed these findings in a recent editorial. “Conservatives conserve. We are harvesting raw resources God has given us, like wind and sunshine, to power Ohio homes and businesses. We cannot afford to impede a free market that is ready to create thousands more energy jobs and catapult our economy forward.”
Zooming in on the GOP & Clean Energy Policy
The participants in the CEN survey expressed an important, limited role for government on clean energy issues, especially those that center on supporting innovation and the development of technology.
Among Republican participants, 59% say they would vote for elected officials or candidates who support clean energy development in areas like solar and wind. This number increased with independents, of whom 79% said they would vote for a candidate who supports clean energy. CEN surmises that “clean energy will continue to be a key issue in general elections,” particularly for candidates trying to draw in these independent voters.
Participants who approve of President Trump also backed clean energy policy. Of these participants, 81% agree that their state should accelerate its growth of clean energy so it can be seen as a national leader in the competition of clean energy development and job production. In addition, 62% of Trump approvers support the government taking action to accelerate the development of clean energy in the US.
Policy solutions that are a tax were not well-received by survey participants, especially among those who self-identified as Republican. Of GOP participants, 72% oppose a new tax system that would help reduce carbon emissions by rewarding low carbon emitters and penalizing high carbon emitters. Opposition among this group increased to 82% when a carbon tax is tested.
About the Conservative Energy Network
Pischea concluded, “Based on these findings, policymakers must understand the importance of taking action on our nation’s clean energy transition. For conservatives, electricity competition and choice are winners among base voters and an important bridge towards key independents. The future of energy is bright, and we hope policymakers and the public join us in supporting American innovation.”
The CEN is a non-profit coalition of deeply conservative grassroots families, farmers, business owners, and political and faith leaders who believe the inevitable transition to clean, renewable energy will ensure energy independence, protect US national security, conserve the natural beauty of homeland, create new homegrown jobs, and guard against rising energy costs. They believe in US innovation and new technology that lowers the cost of electricity and gives consumers more choices in a fair and free market. They also “do not believe in heavy-handed government rules or forcing consumers to choose higher-priced energy sources.”
For those interested in the methodology behind this survey, Public Opinion Strategies completed a telephone survey of 800 likely voters nationwide. The survey was conducted November 2-5, 2019 and included 400 interviews with cell phone respondents. The margin of error for this survey is +3.46% in 95 out of 100 cases.
We at CleanTechnica reached out to the CEN for additional information about party affiliation percentages of the survey participants and questions asked during the survey. We’ll add that information to this article as we hear back.