April 30, 2014

UT Energy Poll and OurEnergyPolicy.org Surveys Reveal Support for Energy Efficiency and Concerns about Political Squabbling

UT Energy Poll and OurEnergyPolicy.org Surveys Reveal Support for Energy Efficiency and Concerns about Political Squabbling

WASHINGTON, D.C. — Four out of five American consumers and energy professionals view energy efficiency as a personal priority and at least two out of three believe it could significantly reduce overall energy use if not for political squabbling, two new surveys show.

Findings from the separate surveys, conducted this spring by The University of Texas at Austin and the nonprofit OurEnergyPolicy.org, were released Wednesday morning during an event at the National Press Club at which a panel of

The UT Energy Poll, conducted March 3­‐17 among 2,133 U.S. residents aged 18 and older, found that 79 percent of American consumers view energy efficiency as a priority, up from 72 percent six months ago.

“It’s encouraging that most Americans, as well as informed energy industry professionals, place such a high priority on energy efficiency,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll.

“Our survey showed a significant uptick in the number of consumers who say they’re likely to invest in a wide range of energy efficiency products over the next five years,” she added.

The OurEnergyPolicy.org survey revealed an even higher level of support, with 82 percent of energy professionals indicating energy efficiency was a high or very high personal priority. Less than 1 percent said energy efficiency was not a personal priority.

OurEnergyPolicy.org President Bill Squadron described the poll results as “both heartening and disappointing.”

“The fact that both energy consumers and professionals regard energy efficiency as a priority is good news, but our broken political system must be fixed if we are going to make progress,” Squadron added.

“At OurEnergyPolicy.org we’re trying to bring all sides to the table for meaningful conversation about solving America’s energy problems.”

Both surveys showed that at least 65 percent of respondents see “political squabbling or stalemate” as a significant barrier to making more energy efficient goods and services available to consumers.

Nearly half of the respondents in both surveys said improving the energy efficiency of their home heating or air conditioning system would save them more money than improving home lighting, appliances and personal vehicles. More American consumers than energy professionals said investing in energy efficient home appliances would produce the most savings (19 percent and 3 percent, respectively), while more energy professionals than consumers indicated they would save the most money by improving energy efficiency of their vehicles (31 percent versus 21 percent).

Survey respondents also differed when asked where the U.S. should spend the most money on research and development. Fifty-­‐four percent of energy professionals participating in the OurEnergyPolicy.org poll indicated a preference for spending on energy efficiency measures, compared with 41 percent of consumers in the UT Energy Poll. While 40 percent of American consumers indicated they would like to see the most government spending on renewable energy programs, 32 percent of energy professionals said the same.

Energy professionals also indicated a strong preference for the federal government to take the lead on pushing energy efficiency (46 percent), compared with 36 percent of American consumers.

The UT Energy poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business and launched in October 2011 to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development. Data from the poll were weighted for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income based on U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population.

Energy professionals participating in the OurEnergyPolicy.org survey included 550 individuals from professional energy associations, state energy offices, energy engineering groups, the public utility sector, and oil and gas organizations.

OurEnergyPolicy.org is an online platform for experts from all perspectives to engage in a civil and collaborative discussion on energy policy. The organization’s mission is to provide a nonpartisan forum for substantive, responsible dialogue on the full range of energy issues and serve as a resource for the American people, policymakers and the media.

Media contacts:

UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum

sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu

OurEnergyPolicy.org Media Contact:

Claire Buchan Parker, Claire@cbcommunicationsllc.com

October 17, 2013

UT Energy Poll Shows Public Disconnect on Energy Issues

AUSTIN, Texas — The latest energy poll conducted by The University of Texas at Austin shows Americans to be less engaged on energy issues than they were six months or a year ago. Survey results also highlight consumer misperceptions about where the United States gets its energy in the midst of a transformative period of domestic energy production and unparalleled technological changes.

The survey of consumer perspectives on energy, conducted Sept. 5–23, shows mixed views on the recent surge in domestic natural gas production, largely made possible by the widespread use of hydraulic fracturing in tandem with horizontal drilling. Among the 40 percent of Americans who say they are familiar with the technology, only 38 percent support hydraulic fracturing, down from 45 percent six months ago.

That said, an increasing majority of consumers (57 percent, up from 53 percent last fall) see domestic natural gas production as beneficial in lowering carbon emissions. Additionally, more than 4 out of 5 (82 percent) want the federal government to focus on developing natural gas, second only to renewable technologies (89 percent).

“What we’re seeing is the real disconnect between energy and the American public,” UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum said. “In some instances, ideology may influence attitudes, but there’s unquestionably a lack of understanding across a broad swath of energy issues that affect each of us.”

Seventy percent of those surveyed expressed concern about the portion of their household budget spent on energy, down from 77 percent six months ago. Yet, nearly 3 out of 4 (72 percent) also expect the portion of their household budget spent on energy to increase within the next year.

Americans fare poorly when it comes to general energy literacy. Fifty-eight percent think that the nation’s largest foreign supplier of oil is Saudi Arabia, while just 13 percent chose the correct answer, Canada. Thirty-one percent say they are knowledgeable about how energy is produced, delivered and used, but less than half (46 percent) of this group correctly chose Canada as our largest foreign supplier of oil. Responses also varied widely by gender, with 44 percent of men and 20 percent of women describing themselves as knowledgeable about energy.

Other findings from the UT Energy Poll include:

* Among those familiar with hydraulic fracturing, 48 percent of those age 55 and older support its use, while just 31 percent of those younger than 55 say they do. Yet, 29 percent of older Americans think that the U.S. government should permit exports of natural gas to other countries, while 37 percent of younger Americans agree.

* Just 14 percent have read, seen, or heard about energy issues daily, down from 21 percent one year ago. Consumers are also less likely to seek information about reducing their own energy use, or follow local, national, and global energy issues than in September 2012.

* Women are more likely than men to say they do not know whether climate change is occurring (14 percent) but more likely (42 percent) to believe their personal actions have an effect on the environment.

* The percentage of Americans who say climate change is occurring held steady at 72 percent, up one point from March. This includes 87 percent of Democrats and 52 percent of Republicans.

About The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll:

Data from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business and launched in October 2011 to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives about key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development.

How is the poll funded?

Tom Gilligan, the dean of the McCombs School of Business, decided that McCombs should fund an energy survey as part of its mission to promote energy-related research and teaching. The UT Energy Poll is funded through contributions from the dean’s discretionary fund. These contributions come from a variety of sources, including executive education programs and corporate and individual donors, and the dean decides where best to use these donations in support of our students and the university. Donors have no influence on the way the poll is conducted. In time, we will grow our subscriber base, making the UT Energy Poll a self-sustaining initiative. For more information on funding, contact: sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu or visit www.utenergypoll.com/faq/

Watch UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum explain the UT Energy Poll or take a closer look at where the U.S. gets its imported oil:

Which country do you believe is the largest foreign supplier of oil for the U.S.?

For more information, contact: Sheril Kirshenbaum, UT Energy Poll Director, sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu, 512-232-5942

July 25, 2013

UT Energy Poll Shows Decline Among Those Who Say Climate Change Is Occurring

Sixty-seven percent of Americans say that climate change is occurring, down from 73 percent in March, according to the latest survey conducted by the University of Texas Energy Poll. Eighteen percent of respondents say that climate change is not occurring and 15 percent report they don’t know.

The online nationwide survey, conducted July 18-22, indicates that although climate change can be a polarizing issue politically, both Democrats and Republicans experienced similar declines from where numbers were in March. Over the past four months, the percentage of Republicans who say that climate change is occurring dropped from 55 to 51 percent and Democrats decreased from 89 to 84 percent.

Children may also play a role in attitudes on climate change. Seventy-four percent of survey participants living with children under 18 years of age say that climate change is occurring, while just 62 percent of those living without children do.

This survey was conducted among 1,054 U.S. residents aged 18 and over. Data were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business and launched in October 2011 to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development.

For more information, contact UT Energy Poll Director Sheril Kirshenbaum at sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu.

April 9, 2013

Spring 2013 UT Energy Poll Shows Consumer Opposition to Exporting Natural Gas

AUSTIN, Texas —Thirty-nine percent of Americans believe the U.S. should keep the natural gas it produces at home rather than sell it to other countries, the latest University of Texas Energy Poll reports today. Only 28 percent of those surveyed say they support exporting domestically produced natural gas to other countries. Responses differ by gender, with 33 percent of men favoring the export of natural gas and 22 percent of women favoring it.

The online nationwide survey, conducted March 11–20, indicates consumers generally favor increased domestic energy production, but have mixed feelings about the current natural gas boom. In particular, the survey illustrates how sharply divided the public remains over the use of hydraulic fracturing (also known as “fracking”), which has led to the current surge in domestic production.

While poll findings on energy issues often reflect partisan bias, Democrats and Republicans report very similar responses to the question of whether the U.S. should export natural gas to other countries. Roughly 37 percent of survey respondents from both major political parties oppose natural gas exports and 30 percent favor them. Those identifying themselves as Independent politically are most likely to oppose exporting natural gas (44 percent).

Survey participants who say they are familiar with hydraulic fracturing are more likely to support natural gas exports (37 percent) than those who are not familiar with hydraulic fracturing (20 percent). (For additional details, see Table 1.)

Hydraulic Fracturing Remains A Divisive Issue

Overall, 45 percent of respondents familiar with hydraulic fracturing say they support its use for fossil fuel extraction, down from 48 percent a year ago, while 41 percent say they oppose the practice.

However, of this group, only 22 percent of Democrats support fracking, while 60 percent oppose it, and 71 percent of Republicans support fracking, while 20 percent oppose it.

Consumers continued to express concern about possible harm to the environment from the use of hydraulic fracturing, with the potential for water contamination again topping the list of specific concerns.

“More consumers – 43 percent today versus 38 percent a year ago – say there should be more regulation of hydraulic fracturing,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the UT Energy Poll. “Still, we also see steady support for the expansion of domestic natural gas development.”

Other findings from the UT Energy Poll include:

  • The scientific community continues to be the most trusted source for accurate, impartial information on hydraulic fracturing – among those familiar with fracking, 40 percent of respondents trust the scientific community, a number that has remained constant since last fall.
  • Forty-one percent of respondents say hydraulic fracturing on public lands should be promoted, while 36 percent say it should be banned.
  • The percentage of Americans who say that climate change is occurring has held steady at 73 percent since the September 2012 poll.

Data from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business and launched in October 2011 to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development.

For more information, contact: Sheril Kirshenbaum, UT Energy Poll Director, sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu, 512-232-5942; Renee Hopkins, Red McCombs School of Business, 512-471-6746

New UT Energy Poll Shows Voters Prefer Obama’s Energy Platform

AUSTIN, Texas, Oct. 16, 2012 — As the 2012 presidential election draws near, more voters say they prefer the energy policies espoused by President Barack Obama than Gov. Mitt Romney’s energy platform, according to the latest University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll results released today.

View Energy Poll Briefing Slides

While support from Democrats and Republicans fell along party lines, Obama garners more support from Libertarian voters (48 percent vs. 21 percent for Romney) and independent voters (27 percent vs. 23 percent for Romney).

Overall, 37 percent of respondents say Obama’s platform is best for the country, while 28 percent favor Romney’s views on energy. More than a third of those surveyed (35 percent) are not sure whose energy policies they prefer or are undecided.

The online nationwide survey, conducted Sept. 6–17, offers further insights into how energy issues might affect the upcoming presidential election. This is the third wave of the Energy Poll, which was launched in October 2011.

“While job creation and the economy continue to top the list of concerns, two out of three consumers say energy issues are important to them,” said Sheril Kirshenbaum, director of the University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll. “Support for increased production of domestic energy supplies remains strong, and we’re also seeing a lot of interest in the promotion of alternative forms of energy and energy-saving technologies that crosses party lines.”

Sixty-two percent of the 2,092 poll respondents say they are more likely to vote for a candidate who says he will increase funding for scientific and university research into new energy technologies, and 58 percent would back a candidate promising to expand natural gas development.

Consumers also support an increase in renewable forms of energy, with 58 percent saying they are more likely to vote for a candidate who supports additional financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. Meanwhile, 40 percent say they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports decreasing the use of coal as an energy source (46 percent of Democrats and 30 percent of Republicans).

The poll also shows a notable rise in the willingness of consumers to adopt new energy technologies. Between September 2011 and September 2012, the percentage of consumers who say they will use “smart meter” technology within the next five years rose from 38 percent to 45 percent. Similarly, more consumers indicate they are likely to own a hybrid vehicle (30 percent to 36 percent during the same timeframe).

Other findings from the latest UT Energy Poll include:

  • Between March and September 2012, the percentage of respondents who say that climate change is occurring jumped from 65 percent to 73 percent. This increase occurred across all political parties (Republicans, Democrats, Libertarians, and independent voters) with the greatest change notable in the southern states (57 percent to 71 percent).
  • When asked to report their level of knowledge on energy issues, 45 percent of men consider themselves knowledgeable, while just 20 percent of women do.
  • Ninety-two percent of respondents are concerned about the cost of gasoline, and 63 percent are more likely to vote for a candidate promising to make it less expensive.

Data from The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll were weighted using U.S. Census Bureau figures, as well as propensity scores, to ensure the sample’s composition reflects the actual U.S. population. The poll was developed by the McCombs School of Business to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development.

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The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll, developed by the McCombs School of Business’ Energy Management and Innovation Center, seeks to provide an objective, authoritative look at consumer attitudes and perspectives on key energy issues. It is designed to help inform national discussion, business planning and policy development. Conducted biannually, the online poll rates leadership on energy issues, measures consumers’ energy priorities, and tracks knowledge and energy consumption behaviors. The poll is a collaborative effort of academics, polling experts, nongovernmental organizations, large energy users and energy producers.


Media contacts:

Sheril Kirshenbaum, sheril.kirshenbaum@mccombs.utexas.edu
Samantha Harris, Samantha.Harris@mccombs.utexas.edu