Wake Up Democrats: Independents Support Federal Investment in “Green Jobs” 2-to-1 Despite Solyndra Media Storm

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"Wake Up Democrats: Independents Support Federal Investment in “Green Jobs” 2-to-1 Despite Solyndra Media Storm"

In dozens of focus groups we have conducted this month across the country on a wide variety of subjects, when voters are asked where they would like new jobs in their state to come from, the first words out of their mouths are almost always the same – clean energy and related technology.  Voters believe that the clean energy economy is here and is growing, and they want their state to have a part of it.

As the Wall Street Journal reported today, “The Solyndra episode has generated reams of press coverage and fodder for political speeches, but this hasn’t changed voters views on clean energy, new research from a pair of Democratic and Republican pollsters suggests.”

Note that the language explicitly talks about  public investment to create “clean energy jobs” or “green jobs.” The poll itself is here, and concluded:

When presented with arguments that attempt to use Solyndra to indict public investments in clean energy more broadly, voters reject them.

The numbers are 60% to 32% for independents.  Heck, the numbers are 63% to 31% for “Republicans who do not identify with the Tea Party.”  The numbers are also 56% to 35% for all GOP women.  What does that tell you about the tea party?

Why do non-Tea-Party voters reject such arguments?  Because they understand very broadly that the future is clean energy.  Indeed, it’s kind of obvious that jobs in the clean energy fuels  of the 21st century that never run out are sustainable, while jobs in the dirty energy industries of the 20th century are not.

The only way Solyndra could undermine the public’s hunger for clean energy, the only way Solyndra could stop the inevitable march of clean energy in this country is if progressive politicians somehow become cowed by the Denier Industrial Complex’s disinformation campaign and fail to champion what the public is clamoring for

Every progressive should memorize — and every Democratic politicians should read daily — the core findings of this poll:

In dozens of focus groups we have conducted this month across the country on a wide variety of subjects, when voters are asked where they would like new jobs in their state to come from, the first words out of their mouths are almost always the same – clean energy and related technology.  Voters believe that the clean energy economy is here and is growing, and they want their state to have a part of it.

Ignore those words at your peril, progressive politicians.  Here’s more:

In focus groups in electorally important states … voters consistently indicated that renewable energy companies are the types of businesses that they regard most positively and trust…. even a group of Republican male swing voters — who expressed deep cynicism about government, business, and most other major institutions in American life — voiced strong faith in the viability of the solar industry. These voters were quick to condemn the federal government for failing to do its due diligence in evaluating Solyndra’s business prospects, and for squandering taxpayer dollars on what they saw as a bad bet. But even the most hardened conservatives in that group strongly agreed that the solar industry is strong, growing, and worthy of future investment.

Impressive stuff.  How many other issues get such broad support?  As I’ve said, clean energy, like climate change, is a major wedge issue that could be used by progressive politicians — if they weren’t so dreadful at messaging (see “How Conservatives Beat Progressives at Messaging“).

Dave Roberts at Grist notes of this poll:

People who had heard a “great deal” about Solyndra were “overwhelmingly conservative, male and older.” Hm, that’s the same demographic that watches Fox News and listens to talk radio! Surely a coincidence.

The pollsters also found:

Descriptions of the successes of the American solar industry offer a strong rebuttal to criticisms of Solyndra.  When offered a series of responses to the Solyndra bankruptcy, the most compelling – by far – for California focus group participants was one which highlighted a few other successes in the industry (shown below).  As one focus group participant noted, Solyndra was “one bad apple in the barrel” – with lots of other successes surrounding , and serving to demonstrate the industry’s vitalit

If  you’d like to be able to describe some of the successes of the American solar industry, go to these recent Climate Progress posts:

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4 Responses to Wake Up Democrats: Independents Support Federal Investment in “Green Jobs” 2-to-1 Despite Solyndra Media Storm

  1. Wow. These are great numbers. The polls alone suggest the Democrats could build one heck of a platform on raising taxes on the rich and funding green investments alone!

  2. Leif says:

    In my view the break down comes as soon as money for financing comes into the discussion. The GOP immediately bring up the fact that the money must come from the tax payers excluding all other sources and the progressives cannot get a voice above the din. Tax payers are tapped to the gills and rebell. No mention is given to the source that has 90% of the wealth already, the RICH. People just assume that a tax on the rich will just translate to higher costs to them in the end as the rich always finds loopholes to protect their profit margin. While that is true for the most part it shows a failure of capitalism in not factoring total environmental costs to society into price structure in the first place. Well head carbon tax is a simple fix that will allow renewable energy to compete on a level playing field and start to bring energy production into a positive for the nation, not a negative that we must pay interest on forever, to the already rich, I would add.

  3. Bill Walker says:

    I wonder if we could gain more traction for action among conservatives by framing it as “War on Global Warming”. They never seem to mind spending on any kind of “war”.

  4. Frank Zaski says:

    Digging even more into the details, GOP WOMEN (56%) are significantly more likely than GOP men (41%) to indicate we should still continue investments in clean energy.

    We have to capitalize on the greater “rationality” of GOP women, and all women, to further the fight against GHG and pollution. The framing for our “children “and grandchildren” resonates more with women than men.