Second UT Energy Poll reports increasing public support for domestic energy

Sylvia Butanda

A national online poll has revealed the growing public backing for domestic energy, with many showing support for natural gas and renewable energy production, said Tanya Andrien, associate director of the Energy Management and Innovation Center.

The second UT Energy Poll, conducted and supervised by the center at the McCombs School of Business, disclosed the results of the survey that were composed from more than 2,300 online respondents. The poll, whose results were released Tuesday, asked questions relating to what people of different backgrounds and political affiliations find to be the current energy challenges and priorities facing the nation.

Wayne Hoyer, marketing administration chair, said the UT Energy Poll’s long-term vision is to view data as a dependable source for public opinion on energy issues.

“It will be utilized by public policy makers, academicians, energy practitioners, major corporations and the public alike,” Hoyer said. “It is also hoped that the poll will stimulate academic research and debate across a variety of areas.”

Gary Rasp, spokesman for the UT Energy Institute, said 90 percent of people confirmed that they are concerned with the price of gasoline increasing over the next six months, which could affect their vote during the 2012 presidential election.

“Respondents generally favor candidates who support policies that would increase domestic energy production with 61 percent saying they would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate who promotes an expansion of natural gas development,” Rasp said.

The poll also showed that consumers have shown an increased support for renewable forms of energy, Rasp said.

“Fifty nine percent of people said they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who supports additional financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies … as well as a candidate who would require utilities to obtain a designated percentage of their electricity from renewable sources,” he said.

Rasp said energy is an issue that affects students in every aspect of their lives.

“Our hope is that by providing an ongoing measurement of consumer views on energy issues and gauging satisfaction with various individuals’ and groups’ work on energy issues, we can help influence the public debate of these important issues in a positive manner,” he said.

Daniel Noll, global policy studies/energy and earth resources graduate student and member of the Energy Resources Group, said the UT Energy Poll is valuable to the student body in a number of ways.

“It is a great resource of public opinion data that is both objective and very comprehensive,” Noll said. “There is an abundance of data being collected that has yet to be analyzed, and so the opportunities for students to use the data in novel ways that add value to their research is quite large.”