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All Eyes To 2016: Energy and Renewables In The Midterms

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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Do energy issues matter when it comes to how we vote? It depends. For some Americans, energy is the most significant factor that influences the way a ballot is cast. To others, it takes a back seat to pressing social and security issues. Still, we know Americans are paying attention to energy. According to the Spring 2014 wave of the UT Energy Poll, a majority of Americans – 63% – say energy issues are important to them, including 69% of Democrats and 57% of Republicans.

So what sways us in one direction or the other? Sixty-four percent say they are more likely to support a candidate who would like to expand financial incentives for companies engaged in renewable technologies. By party affiliation, the numbers look like this:

In the past, I’ve written about the significance of improving energy efficiency and expanding renewable technologies if we are to meet the needs of a growing global population that increasingly has access to energy-intensive technologies like cars and cell phones and laptops. While Democratic voters appear to be most focused on creating incentives for the expansion of renewables, it’s a favorable position for all candidates regardless of where they fall on the political spectrum.

Sheril Kirshenbaum About the Author: Sheril Kirshenbaum is Director of The Energy Poll at The University of Texas at Austin where she works to enhance public understanding of energy issues and improve communication between scientists, policymakers, and the public. Follow on Twitter @Sheril_.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.

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