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Massachusetts Locals Want State to Be Leader in Alternative Energy

File photo: Massachusetts airport.
by Staff Writers
Washington DC (SPX) Jun 20, 2006
Solid majorities of Massachusetts residents want the Bay State to emerge as a national leader in alternative energy, including wind power projects such as the proposed Cape Wind offshore project, according to a new Opinion Research Corporation poll for the Newton- based Civil Society Institute.

The May 25-28, 2006 survey found that nine out of 10 state residents think it would be a good idea for Massachusetts to be "a national leader in using cleaner and renewable energy on a large scale by moving ahead with offshore wind power and other alternative-energy initiatives."

Little political variation was seen on this question with 90 percent of the state's conservatives, 93 percent of independents and 94 percent of liberals indicating that national leadership for Massachusetts on renewable energy would be a good idea.

More than four out of five (81 percent) Massachusetts adults and 61 percent of residents of the Cape/the Islands now support the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm project. Opposition statewide is just 14 percent and only slightly over a third (36 percent) in the Cape/the Islands.

Statewide support on a political basis is nearly uniform among conservatives (83 percent), independents (81 percent) and liberals (88 percent).

Another key survey finding: About three out of four of all Massachusetts residents (74 percent) and a majority of Cape/Island residents (57 percent) pick wind power "to provide electricity for Cape Cod and the Islands" as their top choice over such alternatives as nuclear power (10 percent), coal (4 percent) and other energy sources (4 percent).

Civil Society Institute President Pam Solo said: "I would encourage Governor Romney, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, and the rest of the MA congressional delegation to look at these survey findings very closely. The notion that wind power and the other alternative energy sources are dividing lines in Massachusetts either in terms of politics or region ... or both ... is plainly mistaken and counterproductive for our state and for the nation.

What we see in this survey is a clear example of the people 'leading the leaders.' Massachusetts residents want action now on clean, safe renewable energy sources, including Cape Wind and other alternative energy projects. They want the state to get out in front as a true national leader solving our foreign oil dependence and the threat posed by global warming."

Opinion Research Corporation Vice President Wayne Russum said: "Support for wind power and other alternative energy in Massachusetts is strong across all regions of the state and without regard to political views.

For example, partisanship has little to do with the question of the best source of electrical power for the Cape/the Islands, with wind power backed in a fairly consistent way by conservatives (71 percent), independents (77 percent) and liberals (82 percent)."

Other Key Survey Findings

The new Civil Society Institute poll also found the following:

- Solar power (93 percent), more conservation (90 percent), and wind power (88 percent) are all seen by Massachusetts residents as deserving greater emphasis "before we resort to adding more nuclear power." Among residents of the Cape/the Islands the preferences are similar: solar power (93 percent), more conservation (89 percent) and wind power (77 percent).

Independents (90 percent) and liberals (93 percent) are in step with conservatives (82 percent) in favoring more wind power before resorting to stepped up nuclear power production.

- Nearly nine out of ten Cape/Island residents (88 percent) and an even bigger share of all state residents (94 percent) think it is important that "Massachusetts and other states take steps such as the development of clean alternative energy resources -- including offshore wind power

- in order to help reduce global warming and our addiction to foreign energy sources." On a statewide basis, nearly four out of five residents (79 percent) see such steps as being "very important."

- The vast majority of Massachusetts residents -- including 90 percent of all adults and 76 percent of those on the Cape/the Islands -- agree with the following statement: "The problem of reliance on foreign oil and the serious effects of global warming require that we take timely and decisive steps for renewable, safe and clean energy sources.

We need transitional technologies on our path to energy independence. There are tough choices to be made and tradeoffs. We cannot afford to postpone decisions since there are no perfect options."

- Most Massachusetts residents -- 72 percent of all adults and 91 percent of those on the Cape/the Islands -- are aware of Cape Wind, the offshore wind farm proposed for Nantucket Sound.

About nine out of 10 survey respondents (89 percent) live outside of the Cape/the Islands and 9 percent reside in the greater Cape Cod region. (A total of 2 percent of survey respondents refused/declined to identify where they live.)

Over a quarter (26 percent) of state residents identified themselves as conservatives, 36 percent as independents, 20 percent as liberals, and 14 percent as "not political." Even though Cape/Islands residents accounted for only 9 percent of survey respondents, they weighed in as a much larger 14 percent of all conservatives.

For full survey findings, go to the Civil Society Institute Web site at The CSI Web site also features a March 2006 report, "Policy Abhors a Vacuum," which outlines steps that "more than 40 states, and almost 200 municipalities are taking ... to address global warming concerns."

ORC Survey Methodology

Survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 600 Massachusetts adults (298 men and 302 women) aged 18 and over living in private households in the Bay State. Interviewing was completed by Opinion Research Corporation during the period of May 25-28, 2006.

Completed interviews of the survey adults were weighted by two variables: age and gender, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the complete sample of 600 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.

Related Links
Civil Society Institute

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