Poll: Renewable energy helped swing US election


Poll suggests renewable energy helped swing US election. Image credit: Tim Wang

The electorate in key swing states that voted Democrat in last week’s US election support renewable energy, suggesting the issue was an influential determinant in President Obama’s victory, research claims.

A poll conducted by the American Council on Renewable Energy (ACORE) found that voters in the swing states of Ohio, Iowa, Colorado and Virginia – all of which helped determine the election outcome – considered renewable energy to be an election issue as important as foreign policy and more so than abortion.

ACORE said the poll, conducted the day after the election, confirmed the importance of energy in many voters’ decision on President. A majority of 2012 voters in these four swing states indicated that energy impacted their vote – 66% in Colorado, 60% in Virginia, 58% in Iowa, and 57% in Ohio.

The poll found these same voters want to see cleaner energy encouraged in their state, ranking solar, wind, and natural gas higher than all other energy sources.

And looking ahead, the swing state voters are also more supportive of candidates who advocate shifting to cleaner energy sources (Iowa 80%, Colorado 75%, Virginia 72% and Ohio: 70%).

During the election campaign, President Obama’s opponent Mitt Romney criticised Obama for “wasting” money during his first time on measures such as the production tax credit, which were designed to stimulate investment in renewable energy.

But commenting on the poll, Dennis McGinn, President and CEO of ACORE, said: “Policymakers take note: swing state voters support clean, renewable energy. It is long past time to end the vilification of an industry that is creating jobs, attracting private investment, and contributing to our economic recovery. Clean energy is a business, not a political football, and it should be treated as a business.”

Meanwhile, in his first White House press conference since being re-elected, Obama said he would take personal charge of climate change policy. During the election he made little mention of the issue, indicating the extent to which it had become a partisan issue in the US.

“You can expect that you will hear more from me in the coming months and years about how we can shape an agenda that garners bipartisan support and help moves this agenda forward,” he told reporters.