New poll finds Americans want more solar power development

Apr 3, 2013

The weather has been a little weird lately, and the ever-changing skies have people calling for sun - not just so they can enjoy the warmth. A new poll shows that Americans want more emphasis on producing domestic solar power.

A recent Gallup poll sampled 1,022 people by region and party identification and found that 76% of Americans want the United States to increase solar power production.  Wind (71%) and natural gas (65%) were also popular among the people polled. Less popular was the production of oil (46%), nuclear power (37%), and coal (31%).

By party, solar power was the most popular among Democrats and Independents. 68% of Republicans supported greater emphasis on solar production, behind more popular choices of natural gas and oil. The greatest divide among the parties was the future development of oil - 79% of Republicans supported it, compared to 29% of Democrats.

Regionally, solar power development was the the top choice or tied for the top across the country. Survey participants in the Midwest ranked both solar and wind as the top preferences for domestic energy production. Solar power, wind, and natural gas were the three most popular choices for energy development across the country. The southern region was more supportive of traditional energy sources such as oil and coal. 

U.S. Energy Preference by Region
U.S. Energy Preference by Region
Credit Gallup

According to Gallup:

“Americans overall and across political and socioeconomic groups generally are most likely to call for more emphasis on solar and wind power -- but these potential future sources of energy have a long way to go in terms of technology and affordability before they can significantly affect overall U.S. domestic energy production. On the other hand, Americans are sharply divided politically over achieving greater domestic energy production using more traditional energy sources such as oil, coal, and nuclear power.”

Public acceptance of global warming on the rise

A new survey published by the Center for Local, State, and Urban Policy at the Gerald R. Ford School of Public Policy at the University of Michigan and the Institute of Public Opinion at Muhlenberg College found public acceptance of global warming is the highest it has ever been at 67%  since its peak at 72% in 2008. Numbers dipped as low as 52% in 2010. 

Two out of three Americans surveyed believe that the planet has warmed over the past four decades, and more Americans attribute global warming to human activity than ever before in the history of the survey.  The report notes that a greater belief in global warming coupled with a recognition of the impact of anthropogenic activity “marks an important development in terms of public opinion on this issue.”

-Rebecca Guerriero, Michigan Radio Newsroom