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Poll: Trump Voters Strongly Favor Renewables, Clean Energy

A new poll finds strong support among conservatives for policies supporting renewables and clean energy. (Public Opinion Strategies)
A new poll finds strong support among conservatives for policies supporting renewables and clean energy. (Public Opinion Strategies)
December 9, 2016

CHARLESTON, W. Va. - President-elect Donald Trump's position on renewables and clean energy is worrying environmentalists - but according to a new national poll, his voters strongly favor them.

The post-election survey found that nearly 90 percent of all voters support more government action to speed up the shift to clean energy. Mark Pischea, executive director of the Conservative Energy Network, which commissioned the survey, said that includes 2-to-1 support by conservatives. He said the Republican Party shouldn't ignore these results.

"For the GOP to be competitive in future elections, it must develop messages that have greater appeal to millennials, college-educated voters, minorities," he said. "Clean energy represents an opportunity to build a bridge while appealing to our conservative base."

Coal and oil companies have argued that policies supporting renewables will raise the cost of energy and hurt the economy. However, the survey found conservatives favor those policies specifically because renewables are growing and rapidly adding jobs.

Trump's selection of a climate skeptic to head the Environmental Protection Agency suggests the incoming administration may try to undo President Obama's attempts to cut the carbon emissions that cause climate change. Pischea said conservative groups are working to help transform the nation's energy supply, but they've been more focused on state and local policies. He said they will work in Washington.

"Urge Congress and urge the Trump administration to take a proactive platform on clean energy," he said, "but most of the important work to move the ball is really happening at the state level."

Pischea said the survey found clean-air rules and support for economic development in energy transformation both tested off the charts. He said the poll found strong support for energy efficiency, and far more negative opinions about coal and nuclear energy. Pischea said the idea of government action aimed specifically at slowing climate change still is politically charged for conservatives, but added that he sees growing consensus on energy policies in general.

"The encouraging part about the increasing support on the right," he said, "is, we hope that it can lead to a de-politicized policy environment, where the accelerated growth of clean energy can thrive."

Pollster Public Opinion Strategies talked to 1,000 U.S. voters. More information about the poll is online at conservativeenergynetwork.org.

Dan Heyman, Public News Service - WV