Majority of Americans Say Energy Crunch Very Serious
PRINCETON, New Jersey, May 14, 2001 (ENS) - An increasing number of Americans now believe the energy situation in the United States is "very serious," a new survey of public opinion has found.
In the last two months, there has been a significant increase in the percentage of those who say the energy situation is very serious - from 31 percent at the beginning of March to 58 percent in a CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll conducted May 7 through 9.
The current 58 percent is the highest ever recorded in response to this question, according to the Gallup organization - significantly higher than the previous high point of 47 percent, recorded in August 1979.
The results are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,005 adults, 18 years and older.
Analyzing the survey for the Gallup organization, Frank Newport says, "The American public is apparently settling in for a possible long term increase in gas prices. A majority of Americans - 56 percent - say the recent rise in gas prices is "more permanent," and not just a "temporary fluctuation."
President George W. Bush is expected to release his energy strategy for the nation on Thursday. It will cover increasing sources of supply and ways to conserve energy.
This latest survey found a greater proportion of people want both more production and more conservation than a poll on the same topic found in March. Then, 56 percent favored conservation and 33 percent favored production, while only eight percent favored both.
The poll conducted last week found that 14 percent favored both, 47 percent favored conservation, and 35 percent want more production.
Eighty-five percent of those questioned favor requiring more energy efficient cars by law. More than three in every four people favors a federal government partnership with the auto industry working towards energy efficient cars.
Such a partnership was created during the Clinton administration, and today coordinates the efforts of the major automakers and a wide range of other engineering talents to make and market a vehicle that goes 80 miles on a gallon of gas.
On the controversial issue of opening the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge (ANWR) to drilling for oil, fewer of those polled support this action now than did in March. Then, 40 percent favored drilling in ANWR, with 56 percent opposed. Today 38 percent support the drilling, 57 percent are opposed.
Increasing investment in gas pipelines was favored by a majority - 64 percent - of those questioned.
Increasing the use of nuclear reactors as a major source of power was also favored, but by a slim margin - 48 percent favor the move towards nuclear, and 44 percent are opposed.
While it is impossible to pinpoint the exact role energy plays in the public's perception of President Bush, Newport says, the poll shows that Bush's job approval rating is at 53 percent - identical to his late March rating, but down from his administration's high of 62 percent measured three weeks ago.