Americans like solar. They like it a lot.
A new poll shows that 92 percent of registered voters feel it is either “very important” or “somewhat important” for the U.S. to develop more solar. Even more striking, the poll shows that 70 percent of voters believe the government should be doing more to help promote the technology through financial incentives — with 72 percent of swing voters saying they support increasing incentives.
The takeaway: political ads around the failed solar manufacturer Solyndra that attack government support for the industry aren’t having much of an impact on voters.
The poll, released this morning, was conducted by Hart Research for the solar industry’s trade group, the Solar Energy Industries Association. You can read all the questions here.
Support for solar is strong across all political parties. According to the findings, 98 percent of Democrats, 95 percent of Independents, and 84 percent of Republicans say the country should develop more solar. The poll also shows that 87 percent of swing voters have a “very favorable” or “somewhat favorable” view of the technology.
The Romney campaign, the Republican party, and third-party groups have spent millions of dollars this election season trying to politicize federal clean energy investments — particularly the solar manufacturer Solyndra, which received $527 million in loan guarantees before going bankrupt last year. But it doesn’t appear the message is sticking.
According to the poll, 33 percent of voters say what they’ve heard in the media has given them mixed feelings or made them feel more negative about solar; however, 35 percent say they’ve heard “nothing recently” about solar and 32 percent say what they’ve heard has either made their feelings about solar more positive or made no difference on their perception.
Even with the barrage of negative messaging this campaign season, 70 percent of all voters polled believe the U.S. should do more to encourage use of solar.
This adds to the long list of polls showing that climate change and clean energy issues are positive ones for American voters — particularly for independents and swing voters.
Last month, Yale University released a poll showing that 61 percent of undecided voters would consider a candidate’s stance on climate change when casting a ballot for president.
According to a March survey from George Mason University, 55 percent of voters said they will consider candidates’ positions on climate change in upcoming elections. The survey also found that independent voters lean far more toward climate action, with 68 percent saying we should take medium or large-scale action to address the problem.
Finally, as a recent poll from the Pew Research Center found, the only voters likely to view discussion of climate change and clean energy as a negative are very conservative Tea Party males — many of whom would never vote for a moderate candidate to begin with.
In other words, these issues are the ultimate political wedges.