And passage of federal climate and energy legislation
NRCM news release
A recent poll conducted by Portland-based Critical Insights shows that 90% of Maine people support the development of wind power as a source of electricity. Nearly nine in ten Mainers agree that wind power can improve energy security and reduce Maine’s dependence on fossil fuels, and eight in ten agree that wind power will produce jobs and other forms of economic benefits.
“The level of support for wind power is huge,” said NRCM Advocacy Director Pete Didisheim. “Maine people want clean power and clean energy jobs, and they see a big opportunity through wind power to improve energy security and reduce our dependence on fossil fuels.”
A previous statewide poll in Spring 2007 by the Pan Atlantic SMS Group showed that 85% of Maine people supported wind power development. The level of support for wind power in Maine appears to have increased as Maine has become a leader in New England in wind power generation. According to an NRCM analysis, nearly 300 Maine companies have helped build the three major wind farms currently operating in Maine.
The poll also reveals that 77% of Maine people want Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins to support federal climate and clean energy legislation. Only 13% believe that Maine’s two senators should vote against the legislation, and 10% remain undecided. A clear majority in every demographic subgroup supports passage of legislation “aimed at both reducing the threat of climate change and promoting clean energy development,” with 57% of Republicans in support.
“The message from this poll is clear: Mainers in every region of the state, young and old, of all income levels and political affiliations want Senator Snowe and Senator Collins to vote ‘yes’ on legislation to address climate change and promote clean energy, including wind power,” said Didisheim.
The poll questions were included in the Fall 2009 Critical Insights on MaineTM Tracking Survey, which covered a broad range of issues. Results were gathered from 600 telephone interviews across the state between October 23 and October 27, 2009. Respondents were registered Maine voters and statistically representative of Maine demographics. Results have a margin of error of +/- 3.4 percentage points at 90% confidence level.
Regarding wind power, Maine voters were asked “Do you support or oppose the development in Maine of wind power as a source of electricity?” 90% said that they support, with 66% saying they “strongly support.” Only 6% of Mainers oppose wind power, with 2.5% saying that they “strongly oppose.”
The survey asked whether individuals agree or disagree with the statement that “wind power can help improve energy security and reduce Maine’s dependence on fossil fuels.” 88% agree with this statement, with 58% indicating that they “strongly agree.” About 10% disagree, with 5% saying they “strongly disagree.”
Individuals also were asked whether they agree or disagree with the statement that “wind power in Maine will produce jobs and other forms of economic benefits for Maine people and businesses.” 84% agree with this statement (44% “strongly agree”), with 13% disagreeing (5% “strongly disagree”).
The survey also asked: “Do you believe that Maine Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins should vote for or against legislation aimed at both reducing the threat of climate change and promoting clean energy development?” 77% said that the senators should vote “For” such legislation; 13% said they should vote “Against”, and 9% were undecided.
The strongest overall levels of support for Maine senators to vote “For” climate and clean energy legislation were from women (82%), individuals making less $25,000 annually (84%), younger Mainers (86%), individuals in Northern Maine (83%), residents in Central Maine (81%), and Democrats (93%).
Lower levels of support for climate and clean energy legislation (but still a clear majority) were registered among men (71%), residents making more than $75,000 annually (70%), Mainers who are 65 years old or above (70%), and Republicans (57%).
NRCM strongly supports passage of legislation that would curb global warming pollution and help boost investments in energy efficiency and renewable energy. NRCM also supports appropriately-sited wind power development in Maine.
“We are encouraged by these poll results because they show that Mainers are looking ahead to a future in which we tackle climate change, break our addiction to fossil fuels, and create a sustainable economy powered increasingly by renewable energy,” said Didisheim.
Additional information about the Tracking Survey also can be found by contacting MaryEllen FitzGerald at Critical Insights, (207) 772-4011
Note: Regional results in the poll are based on the following groupings of Maine counties: Southern: York and Cumberland; Coastal: Sagadahoc, Lincoln, Knox, Waldo, Hancock; Central: Androscoggin, Oxford, Kennebec, Franklin; and Northern: Aroostook, Penobscot, Washington, Piscataquis, Somerset.