Energy Issues Influence Voting Behavior

 

Takeaway

The University of Texas at Austin Energy Poll is an impartial, authoritative analysis of public opinion on energy.

With election season heating up, voters are interested in candidates’ positions on a wide range of issues. The University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Poll asked respondents about how candidates’ positions on specific energy policies might influence voting behavior.

The majority of respondents (56%) were somewhat or much more likely to vote for candidates who would expand tax exemptions for companies engaged in sustainable forms of energy. The survey was conducted after the announcement of Solyndra’s bankruptcy, so despite that incident, people remain interested in some form of government subsidies for renewable energy.

Providing tax incentives for efficient vehicles received the next highest support from voters, followed by increasing offshore drilling and lastly, increasing spending on public transportation infrastructure. Notably, increasing offshore drilling had the greatest percentage (26%) of respondents who would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported this activity.

If you were to vote in the next election in 2012, would you be more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate who supports each of the following?

If we break the voting behavior down by political affiliation, we see the following responses in terms of being much more, or somewhat more likely to vote for a candidate endorsing these policies.

More Democrats support tax exemptions for renewable energy companies than Republicans, while more Republicans favor offshore drilling than Democrats, and responses from Independents always land in the middle. Those are probably not surprising findings. However, almost half of Republicans (48%) would be more likely to vote for a candidate who expands tax exemptions for renewable energy companies, and almost one-third of Democrats (32%) would be more likely to vote for a candidate who advocates increased offshore drilling. These percentages suggest that each energy policy may attract more bi-partisan interest than people might expect. 

On the flipside, the Poll queried respondents about whether they would be less likely to vote for candidates supporting the various policies. Offshore drilling prompted the largest negative response from Democrats (37%) and Independents (29%), while Republicans reacted most negatively to increasing public transit (29%). 

If you are interested in seeing the data supporting the figures in this blog, please download this PDF of the source data. For questions about the Energy Poll, please contact Tanya Andrien at tanya.andrien@mccombs.utexas.edu.

Disclaimer

The views expressed are those of the author and not necessarily The University of Texas at Austin.
 

About The Author

Tanya Andrien

Associate Director , Energy Management and Innovation Center

Ms. Andrien joined the Energy Management and Innovation Center at McCombs in late 2010 to assist with strategy, events, operations and student...

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