The vast majority of voters support energy-efficient products and think it is important to include energy efficiency as part of the United States' energy solutions, according to a new survey from the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) and the National Association of Manufacturers (NAM). Will this sentiment hold true at the polls come November to elect Congressional candidates that favor energy-efficiency policies? Will survey results such as these sway Congress to move on proposed energy legislation or to reinstate expired efficiency credits?
Last September, NEMA and NAM surveyed 1,000 randomly selected, likely voters across the country via phone and online interviews. The results bode well for energy-efficiency advocates and might offer a wake-up call to current Congressional representatives, as 66 percent of respondents said that they currently disapprove of how Congress is addressing energy issues, and 67 percent said they were more likely to vote for a candidate that support energy-efficiency policies.
Signalling broad support for more productive energy use, nine in 10 respondents support using energy-efficient products, with 7 in 10 respondents saying they "strongly" do so. Despite Congress's fractured operations across party lines over the past few years, on this large-picture level, responses were not split by large leaps and bounds by party lines: 86 percent of Republicans, 88 percent of Independents, and 99 percent of Democrats said it was important.
Nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of respondents supported investing taxpayers' money in energy-efficiency technologies, innovations, and programs if they would save consumers money, and 69 percent of respondents were more likely to support these investments if they didn't raise taxes, add to the federal deficit, and put any government mandates on consumers.
We'll have to wait until the fall to see whether these voters simply talking a good game on energy efficiency or if they will act on these opinions when it comes time to cast a ballot. In the meantime, however, industry organizations such as the Natural Resources Defense Council are urging Congress to start acting now. In his blog on the poll, NRDC's Frank Matzner notes that energy efficiency could reduce projected energy consumption in the U.S. by 23 percent by the year 2020 and save consumers $1.2 trillion. With numbers like that, why wait until November to get started? Could it be that Congress is already listening?