Conservatives for Clean Energy partnered with Strategic Partners Solutions to conduct its 2017 NC Energy Poll in late February. The poll, managed by Paul Shumaker from SPS, surveyed 600 registered North Carolina voters on their attitudes toward energy and how it impacted their voting behavior. The results demonstrated that North Carolina voters overwhelmingly support clean energy and legislators who back pro-clean energy policies.
Poll findings showed mixed results for fossil fuel development. When asked, “Would you be more likely to support or oppose a legislator or candidate who supports policies that encourage the development of more fossil fuels such as oil and coal?”, 76% of registered Republicans said they would be more likely to support, while just 38% of registered Unaffiliated voters and 36% of registered Democrats indicated they would be more likely to support that candidate or legislator.
In contrast, when asked, “would you be more likely to support or oppose a legislator or candidate who supports policies that encourage renewable energy options such as wind, solar, and waste to energy technologies?”, voters showed overwhelming support regardless of party registration (87% of Democrats, 82% of Unaffiliated voters and 79% of Republicans said they would be more likely to support such a candidate or legislator).
This year, we asked a question on the topic of coal ash cost recovery. We asked the 600 voters surveyed to respond to this question: “Duke Energy is expected to ask state regulators for a rate increase to help pay for the estimated $5 billion in storage and cleanup costs of their coal ash ponds in NC. Which of the following best represents your position on this issue?”. 2.8% of respondents answered that state regulators should allow a rate increase, 12.2% said a minimum rate increase should be allowed, while 83.3% said that regulators should require Duke Energy to use their profits to pay for the clean up costs.
Another new feature of this year’s poll was the addition of district-specific polling on these issues. We surveyed 300 voters in two state senate districts (District 17 in suburban Wake County, and District 45 in a largely rural area of Western North Carolina).
The results between the two populations as it relates to energy issues was largely consistent throughout the questions. For instance, when we asked, “Do you think state and local officials should work to provide consumers of electricity more options on where they can purchase their power or would you say you are satisfied with the current system of public utilities?” In the statewide survey, 67% of voters said they wanted more energy purchasing options. The percentage of voters wanting more energy purchasing options was 68% in Senate District 17, and 63% in Senate District 45, demonstrating strong support among these subsets of rural and suburban voters.