WashPost: “Dems have a real opportunity to seize on the Gulf spill to make energy reform a major issue.”
Based on polling of 650 registered voters May 4 and 5 — still the early days of BP’s Titanic oil disaster — Benenson finds, “not only do voters support a comprehensive clean energy bill by large double-digit margins, they also indicate their Senator’s vote could be an impactful re-election factor.” Here are the numbers:
- Overall, 61% of 2010 voters support and just 31% oppose a bill “that will limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like oil.”
- 54% would be more likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted for the bill (just 30% would be less likely to re-elect).
- 51% would be less likely to re-elect their Senator if he or she voted against the bill (just 30% would be more likely).
As Greg Sargent writes at WashPost‘s The Plum Line:
The poll strongly supports the view, expressed by Al Gore and many others, that the spill represents a real chance to achieve a fundamental shift in the public conversation on energy reform. It shows how absurd it is that so many in the Senate have decided that the spill should make reform less likely.
The memo notes, “Not surprisingly given the above, by almost two-to-one, voters agree that now is the time for Senators to act while opposition messaging falls flat. When asked which they agree with more:”
- 59% of voters agree that “Now is the time for Senators to take action. Oil companies and lobbyists have fought energy reform for decades to protect their profits. Our dependence on oil hurts our economy, helps our enemies and puts our security at risk. It’s time to put America back in control – with clean energy that’s made in America and works for America.”
- Just 31% agree that “Senators would be wrong to try to use this tragedy to pass a huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax. Their plan will raise the price of gas right at the pump, hurt middle class families and stop oil drilling in America, which is a big part of the long-term solution to making us less dependent on foreign oil.”
Sargent says Benenson told him:
“The American people think it’s more urgent to take action now. Americans don’t find credible the scare tactics of those who remain opposed to this. It’s a potentially potent issue with American voters. It is kind of issue that for many key constituencies defines the basic values of their elected officials and candidates.”
The memo points out that
While support has always been high for the energy bill, 39% of voters now say they are more likely to support it in the wake of the oil spill (14% say it makes them more likely to oppose the bill and 47% say it does not affect their view).
Yes, Benenson knows support has always been high for the energy bill “” a view that remains contrary to the conventional wisdom inside the DC beltway despite countless polls supporting his view:
- New polls show Latinos and African Americans support bipartisan climate and clean energy jobs bill
- Memo to policymakers: Public STILL favors the transition to clean energy
- Swing state poll finds 60% “would be more likely to vote for their senator if he or she supported the bill” and Independents support the bill 2-to-1 (9/09)
- New CNN poll finds “nearly six in 10 independents” support cap-and-trade (10/09)
- Voters in Ohio, Michigan and Missouri overwhelmingly support action on clean energy and global warming (11/09)
- Overwhelming US Public Support for Global Warming Action (12/09)
- Public Opinion Stunner: WashPost-ABC Poll Finds Strong Support for Global Warming Reductions Despite Relentless Big Oil and Anti-Science Attacks (12/09)
- It’s all about Independents “” and Independence (1/10)
- Yale: When asked whether they “support or oppose regulation carbon dioxide”¦as pollutant,” 73 percent said yes, with only 27 percent opposed, including 61 percent of Republicans (2/10)
Obama actually has a real chance here to reset the debate and show that he actually believes the pretty words about the urgent need for the clean energy transition he’s been using in countless speeches over the past two years.
We’ll find out soon if he is going to come out of his cocoon or not, as so many of us have been pleading:
- Is Obama blowing his best chance to shift the debate from the dirty, unsafe energy of the 19th century to the clean, safe energy of the 21st century?
- Friedman: “The only meaningful response to this man-made disaster is a man-made energy bill that would finally put in place an American clean-energy infrastructure that would set our country on a real, long-term path to ending our addiction to oil.”
- Gore on BP disaster: “This is a consciousness-shifting event. It is one of those clarifying moments that brings a rare opportunity to take the longer view. Unless we change our present course soon, the future of human civilization will be in dire jeopardy.”