A new national poll from Hart Research conducted on behalf of the Solar Energy Industries Association (SEIA) found that 92 percent of voters in the U.S. support the development of more solar energy. And, in fact, at 93 percent, the percentage is higher among swing voters. The report comes as the nation heads into the election season.
Among the 1,206 voters surveyed in the poll, Democrats were the most supportive of developing more solar power at 98 percent. They were closely followed by the 95 percent of Independent voters and 84 percent of Republican voters. In addition, the majority of respondents—762—were considered swing voters that didn’t exhibit partisan voting histories.
This is the fourth time that SEIA has held the annual poll and the first time it was conducted by Hart. The results were consistent with previous years in terms of support, showing that solar has been supported by a majority of the public for a while.
However, “In the past four annual polls we simply queried Americans of voting age (over 18),” said a spokesperson for SEIA. “We did not poll specifically for swing voters in past polls.” That’s changed this year, allowing for a better understanding of the voting public and its most courted block. “This was first year we specifically screened for likely voters and oversampled for swing voters so we could do the cross-tabulation analysis with valid sample size,” according to the spokesperson.
The poll is undertaken to gauge the opinion of solar and renewables throughout the U.S. “We are working to ensure that candidates continue to understand the policy strengths and political advantages of supporting solar, and this poll certainly helps,” the spokesperson said. “That federal policies encouraging solar have had the support of the past two presidents, governors of both major parties, and bi-partisan support in Congress and state legislatures indicates that elected officials know supporting solar is good public policy and good politics.”
The poll also looked at how important an issue energy is to voters in the 2012 election. It found that 74 percent of voters thought energy was an important element of the election. The only issues seen as more important by respondents this election were government spending at 90 percent, Medicare reform at 81 percent, and education at 80 percent.
In terms of energy forms, solar is considered the most favorable energy source among respondents. Wind was second at 82 percent in favor of more wind, followed by hydropower with 76 percent support and natural gas with 71 percent support. Sixty-four percent of all voters thought solar deserved federal incentives, the highest for any energy source. Only 8 percent of respondents thought coal should be subsidized and only 13 percent thought oil should receive subsidies.