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SURVEY: Despite Solyndra, Voters Still Support Clean Energy Investment

28 Sep 2011  |   Emma Brown

Tags: Clean Energy, General Political

Despite some Republican attempts to use the recent bankruptcy of the solar company Solyndra as an opportunity to paint the entire clean energy industry as a failure, voters aren’t buying into the myth, a recently released memo summarizing voter surveys conducted primarily in Ohio and California has revealed. 

The memo, which consists of collaborated data from both separate and joint surveys carried out by Public Opinion Strategies, a Republican polling firm, and Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates, a Democratic firm, reveals that voters see Solyndra as an isolated incident and continue to widely support clean energy investment. 

In fact, they prefer it, says the report.

“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,” the data concludes.  “Voters believe that the clean energy economy is here and is growing, and they want their state to have a part of it.”

In addition to finding that few voters outside of California were paying attention to Solyndra (only 11% of Ohio respondents said they had heard “a great deal,” about the story), the surveys found that those that were aware of the incident tended to see Solyndra as an isolated “bad apple,” rather than indicative of the entire industry. Altogether, 61% of voters believed the U.S should continue to “make targeted public investments to help create American clean energy jobs,” while only 31% of voters believed that such investments were a waste of money.

Also, although support for clean energy was much higher among Democrats (77% supported it), the majority of Republicans and Independents also supported clean energy investments. A full 60% of Independents supported clean energy investment, while 49% of Republicans supported it, compared to 43% who said it was a “waste of money.”

Of those who identified as Republicans, non-tea party affiliated members were much more likely to support clean energy investment. While 63% of non-tea party Republicans were favorable of continued clean energy investment, compared to only 36% of Tea Party affiliates who supported clean energy investment.

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