By John Downey
Raleigh-based Conservatives for Clean Energy commissioned a poll that shows overwhelming support for renewable and clean-energy sources, even among Republicans and self-described conservatives.
“The poll results confirm that conservative voters in North Carolina are embracing clean-energy options,” says Mark Fleming, CEO of the organization. “There is a strong opportunity for conservatives to lead the way on these issues in North Carolina.”
The poll also found narrower statewide majorities supporting off-shore oil and gas exploration in the state and economic incentives for nuclear plants. But fracking, the process of using water and chemicals to break up shale gas deposits, faces plurality opposition in the state.
The poll was performed over two days last month by Strategic Partners Solutions, a Raleigh-based consulting and polling firm run by longtime Republican consultants Paul Shumaker and Dee Stewart.
It records the results of interviews with 800 North Carolina voters on Feb. 2 and 3. Strategic says it is has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent.
Many of the questions were asked in terms of whether the respondents would support or oppose a lawmaker or candidate who held specific viewpoints on various energy issues.
Asked about a candidate who “supports policies that encourage renewable energy options such as wind and solar power,” 86.8 percent of the respondents said they would support such a candidate. Just 10.3 percent said they would oppose such a candidate.
The support ran across party and ideological lines. Eighty-two percent of Republicans, 90.9 percent of Democrats and 87.2 percent of unaffiliated voters said they would support such a candidate.
One of the lowest support levels was recorded for self-described conservatives. But even there, 78.2 percent responded they would support a candidate who took that position.
More direct questions about energy policies also showed strong support for clean-energy alternatives. Asked about the state’s tax incentives for renewable energy, 77.6 percent overall said they support the incentives, including 71.9 percent of Republicans.
Support for the state’s renewable-energy portfolio standard — which mandates that N.C. utilities use renewable sources to produce 12.5 percent of the energy they sell by 2021 — won the support of 69.6 percent of respondents, and 57.9 percent of Republicans.
Poll results graphic (click image to enlarge)