83 Percent of Americans Want Clean Energy Legislation

Posted by Ben Jervey

Last week I wrote about a poll that revealed widespread support across all party lines for strong EPA. Somehow I missed this remarkable Gallup poll, which found that creating incentives for solar and other "alternative" energy sources was the top legislative priority for Americans.

The poll offered a list of actions that Congress could take—from incentivizing clean energy to passing gun control to overhauling the tax code—and asked whether participants favored or opposed the actions. Here are the eye-opening results:

clean energy, energy, poll, climate change, policy, legislation, Gallup poll

That's right. More Americans agreed on a form of clean energy bill than any other policy idea. Of the poll, Gallup wrote:

Of eight actions Congress could take this year, Americans most favor an energy bill that provides incentives for using alternative energy (83%), an overhaul of the federal tax code (76%), and speeding up withdrawal of U.S. troops from Afghanistan (72%).

Of the eight proposals, the alternative energy bill and tax code overhaul ideas show the greatest bipartisan agreement, with 74% or more of each party group favoring these.

With Republicans in control of the House of Representatives and Democrats in control of the Senate, it would appear the proposals with the best chances of passing are those that generate strong bipartisan support. That is clearly the case for a bill that would provide incentives for increased use of alternative energy.

Not all the energy-related responses were squeaky clean. 65 percent favored an "energy bill that expands drilling and exploration for oil and gas." Obviously, a decent percentage of respondents showed support for both clean energy incentives and expanded fossil fuel extraction. Energy independence is clearly more of a concern to the majority of Americans than climate change or environmental concerns.

That said, 83 percent is a staggeringly high level of popular support. Whether or not Congress actually makes it happen will depend largely on how strongly House Republicans cater to the spending-averse, and very vocal, far right fringe of their supporters.