The University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Poll released the latest findings on October 28th, providing unique insight into how energy issues might influence the Midterm elections.
The latest survey was conducted September 4-16, revealing that 82 percent of Americans say energy issues influence the candidates they choose. A key finding widely reported in the media was that younger and older Americans have distinct priorities regarding energy and federal spending. For example, forty-one percent of survey respondents under age 35 say the U.S. should permit export of natural gas to other countries, while just 22 percent of those age 65 and older support the policy. The online poll also corroborates a longstanding trend among likely voters: A much higher percentage of older respondents (87 percent) indicate they were likely to vote in the Nov. 4 election, compared with 68 percent of those age 35 or under. “Consumer perspectives on energy issues continue to track political party lines, but we’re seeing a widening gulf among older and younger Americans,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll. The generational divide surfaces in several areas, particularly the importance of environmental protection and support for renewable forms of energy:
- Fifty-six percent of younger consumers say they are willing to pay much higher prices to protect the environment, compared with only 20 percent of respondents age 65 and older.
- Sixty-eight percent of survey respondents under age 35 say they would be more likely to vote for candidates who support steps to reduce carbon emissions, compared with 50 percent of those age 65 and older.
- Support for renewable sources of energy is considerably stronger among younger consumers, with nearly 2 out of 3 (65 percent) favoring an expansion of financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. Less than half of older respondents (48 percent) say they would support candidates who endorse such incentives. Likewise, 62 percent of younger respondents favor requiring utilities to obtain a percentage of their electricity from renewable sources, versus 48 percent of older voters.
- Younger consumers also strongly support subsidies for renewable energy, with 72 percent saying they back federal government support, compared with 58 percent among Americans age 65 and older.
- Fifty-two percent of respondents 65 and older say they are familiar with hydraulic fracturing for fossil fuel extraction, compared with 39 percent of younger Americans. Among those familiar with the term, only 37 percent of younger survey respondents support its use, compared with more than half (52 percent) of Americans age 65 and older.
For complete online survey results, charts and other information, visit www.utenergypoll.utexas.edu.