A recent Gallup poll indicates that Americans would like to place "more emphasis" on domestic energy sources including solar, wind, natural gas, oil, nuclear power, and coal; however, not surprisingly, each energy source has varying levels of attractiveness based on political affiliation and location. The chart below illustrates the percentage of Americans, Republicans, Independents, and Democrats that feel “more emphasis” should be placed on each energy source.
Among all Americans, solar power is the most attractive energy source, indicating a desire not only for domestic sources of energy, but also for clean energy. However, Democrat opinions differ drastically on the production of more traditional energy sources such as oil, coal, and nuclear power. While 71% of republicans polled favor “more emphasis” on oil production, only 29% of democrats favor “more emphasis” on oil production. This discrepancy undoubtedly indicates a higher priority of environmental friendliness among democrats.
Furthermore, the above statistic is not surprising when you consider the continuous support by republican politicians for oil drilling and economic expansion instead of tax hikes. Arguably, increased production in oil and natural gas would free America from dependence on foreign oil and create a significant new source of revenue.
Lastly, results varied significantly by region. For example, individuals in the south show a greater affinity for oil, nuclear power, and coal production.
Overall, the results indicate that there is significant potential for economic growth in the domestic energy sector. Although Americans generally favor solar power and wind energy, these two energy sources have a long way to go in terms of technology and affordability. Furthermore, support for more traditional energy sources varies sharply along party lines. Both parties, on the other hand, largely support the production of natural gas.
In the short-term, it appears that natural gas production will win the day; however, it is important that we do not leave the environment behind and invest in long-term solar power and wind energy development.