As the presidential election gets closer, many of us are paying attention to the priorities of the leading candidates. But are the candidates paying attention to the preferences and attitudes of voters?

The United States is diverse and it's always interesting to see how different groups prioritize important issues. Here at Plugged In, we pay close attention to energy, particularly given the U.S. is the world’s largest oil consumer and one of its biggest importers. Meanwhile, the global energy landscape is shifting quickly. Energy decisions made during the next administration will not only shape our economy, but U.S. leadership and innovation for decades to come.

The UT Energy Poll asks respondents about how a candidate's positions on a variety of topics will influence who they choose in November. This morning, I took a close look at how Americans prioritize funding for scientific and university research into new energy technologies.

The survey includes 2,043 U.S. adults and is weighted to reflect U.S. Census demographic data, so these numbers should reflect the entire U.S. population. (MOE ±3.1 percentage points).

I am curious why men are significantly more likely than women to say they favor a candidate interested in increased funding for scientific and university research into new energy technologies. In fact, data throughout the survey suggests men are far more engaged on energy issues generally and report more interest and knowledge than women on a variety of related topics. I've never been sure why we see this, but it's a trend that has persisted since polling began biannually in 2011.

Perhaps less surprising, Democrats are more likely than Republicans to vote for a candidate who pledges to bolster funding on new energy technologies. However, it's also worth noting that these results suggest the majority of voters in every party - as well as every demographic group considered - would be more likely to vote for a presidential candidate in support of doing this.

We'll have to wait and see if the remaining five candidates are paying attention. I certainly hope to hear more about energy priorities from them over the next seven months and at a 2016 ScienceDebate.