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Saturday, June 11, 2005

Survey wars: Yale poll shows little drilling support

Courtesy of Green Car Congress comes another new survey that addresses ANWR drilling. This one is a June 2005 public opinion poll by the Yale Center for Environmental Law & Policy on American Attitudes on the Environment.

While the poll obviously addresses broader environmental issues, one question targets the ANWR drilling debate by asking if opening the refuge to oil drilling is an effective strategy to reduce U.S. dependence on imported oil. Only 36 percent of those polled said this was a "good" or "very good" idea, while 56 percent said this is a "bad" or "very bad" idea.

The people polled in this survey clearly understand that ANWR drilling is not a long-term energy strategy. But I'm not sure how to reconcile these results with those of the previous Washington Post-ABC poll discussed earlier. It could come down to the way the question was asked, or the makeup of the respondents. But even if you average the results of the two questions, the results indicate clear public resistance to ANWR drilling.

The annual survey of 1000 adults found that more than nine out of ten Americans worry about dependence on foreign oil, and even greater numbers want government to develop new clean energy technologies, and to require the auto industry to produce cars and trucks with higher gas mileage. This finding holds across all regions of the country and demographic groups. All agree it is time for Washington to step up to the challenges of the country’s energy future. The poll also revealed broad support for cleaning up air and water and a desire for more government involvement in environmental protection.

The survey was conducted by Global Strategy Group from May 15 to 22, 2005, using professional phone interviewers. The survey has an overall margin of error of 3 percent.

As Green Car Congress notes, the survey reveals that 93 percent of Americans favor requiring the auto industry to make cars that get better gas mileage. Just 6 percent say this is a bad idea. This sentiment varies little by political leaning, with 96 percent of Democrats and Independents and 86 percent of Republicans supporting the call for more fuel-efficient vehicles. Politicians on both sides of the aisle, meanwhile, have been protecting the auto industry from regulations that would increase fuel efficiency.

“This poll suggests that Washington is out of touch with the American people,” said Dan Esty, director of the Yale Center for Environmental Law and Policy.

Now that's a news flash.

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