Findings from the Fall 2018 NSEE
Large majorities of Americans of both parties support increasing the use of solar and wind energy in their state.
88% of Americans support increasing the use of solar energy in their state, and 82% are in favor of increasing the use of wind energy.
There is slightly higher support for these renewable energy technologies among Democrats than Republicans. But even so, 79% of Republicans support adding more solar energy in their state and 72% support adding additional wind energy. By comparison, 92% of Democrats say they support adding more solar and 88% support adding more wind energy in their state.
Figure 1. Support/Opposition for Increasing the Use of Solar or Wind Energy in One’s Own State
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The gap between Democrats and Republicans is larger on state policies mandating or subsidizing renewable energy.
Majorities of both Democrats and Republicans also support their state enacting policies to help speed the transition to renewable energy. Overall, 78% of Americans say they support their state requiring that a set portion of all electricity come from renewable sources, a policy often called a Renewable Portfolio Standard (RPS), which is currently in place in 29 states. Furthermore, 78% of Americans say they support their state government increasing subsidies for renewable energy sources.
However, while the gap in support between Democrats and Republicans for increasing the use of solar and wind energy was only 13- and 16-percentage points, respectively, the gap in support for state-level RPSs or subsidies is 23 and 19 points.
Democrats have roughly the same support for both of these policies as they do for increasing the use of the technologies: 87% of Democrats say they support their state requiring renewable energy and 84% support their increasing subsidies for renewables.
However, among Republicans support is slightly less than for increasing the use of wind and solar technologies: 64% of Republicans say they support requiring renewable energy and 65% support increasing subsidies.
Figure 2. Support/Opposition for One’s Own State Requiring Renewable Energy or Increasing Subsidies for Renewable Energy
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Both Democrats and Republicans see multiple benefits in renewable energy.
The Fall 2018 NSEE tested whether Americans agree or disagree with five statements about potential benefits of renewable energy technologies. A majority of both Democrats and Republicans agreed with each of the five statements.
However, there were differences between these groups in terms of which statements resonated the most. Democrats were most likely to agree that renewable energy improves human health (91%) and contributes to economic development for communities (87%). By contrast, Republicans agreed most with the statement that “renewable energy helps the US be less reliant on foreign energy sources” (80%).
Figure 3. Agree / Disagree on Various Potential Benefits of Renewable Energy
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Now I would like to ask you a few questions about government policy designed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions in your state. For each of the following policy options I read please indicate if you strongly support, somewhat support, somewhat oppose, or strongly oppose your state adopting that policy as a means of reducing emissions?
- Increasing the use of wind energy in your state.
- Increasing the use of solar energy in your state.
- Your state government requiring that a set portion of all electricity come from renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.
- Your state government increasing subsidies for renewable energy sources such as wind or solar.
Next I have a few questions about renewable energy, like solar or wind power. For each of the following statements I read, please tell me whether you strongly agree, somewhat agree, somewhat disagree or strongly disagree with the statement.
- Renewable energy helps lower levels of air pollution, improving human health.
- Renewable energy helps the United States be less reliant on foreign energy sources.
- Renewable energy contributes to economic development for communities such as increased jobs or local tax revenue.
- Renewable energy helps limit climate change.
- Renewable energy helps us be good stewards of God’s creation.
National Surveys on Energy & Environment
Table of Contents
- Executive Summary
- Global Warming Beliefs
- Carbon Tax
- Renewable Energy
- Global Warming and the American Voter
- Additional resources
More on NSEE
- Read past NSEE reports
- NSEE activities in the news, media, & blogs
- University of Michigan - Muhlenberg College collaboration article