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, email@example.com, 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.
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.
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.