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Poll: Americans Want Real Energy Reforms in Wake of Gulf Coast Disaster

By Huge Margin, Public Supports Comprehensive Energy Bill that Encourages Clean Energy, Limits Carbon Pollution

WASHINGTON – As the Gulf Coast oil disaster continues to unfold, the League of Conservation Voters released a new poll by the Benenson Strategy Group today showing overwhelming public support for comprehensive energy legislation that goes beyond simply making BP pay for the damage they’ve done. The poll also found that the oil spill is intensifying the public’s desire for clean energy investments and increased regulation on corporate polluters.  Additionally, the poll shows that comprehensive energy legislation can be a powerful election issue, with high support among key electoral groups.
“This poll makes crystal clear that the Gulf Coast disaster is the final straw for voters when it comes to allowing corporate polluters to dictate our energy policies,” said LCV President Gene Karpinski. “Now, more than ever, it is clear that our dependence on oil – be it from hostile nations or friendly coasts – hurts our economy, threatens our security and harms our environment. Senators must work to deliver comprehensive energy and climate legislation this year that prevents future energy disasters, makes polluters pay their fair share and creates a thriving clean energy economy.”
 “Voters firmly believe Congress needs to do more than just make BP pay for the Gulf Coast oil spill, they want Senators to pass real reforms to invest in clean American energy and hold polluters accountable,” said Joel Benenson, President of the Benenson Strategy Group.
Among the topline findings of the poll are:
 • In the aftermath of the spill, people firmly believe Congress needs to do more than just make BP pay. They understand America needs more than a band-aid; we need real, comprehensive energy reform. When asked which they agree with more:
 - 66% agree with: British Petroleum must pay for the damage they’ve done. But our addiction to oil threatens our security and we need more than a band-aid for that. Senators need to pass real reforms to hold polluters accountable and invest in clean American energy.
 - Just 23% agree with: We need to ensure that British Petroleum pays every last dime of the damages they’ve caused, but Senators would be wrong to try to use this tragedy to pass some huge new Washington program and job-killing energy tax.

 • Consequently, there is a huge margin of support for an energy bill that would “limit pollution, invest in domestic energy sources and encourage companies to use and develop clean energy. It would do this in part by charging energy companies for carbon pollution in electricity or fuels like gas.”
 - Overall, 63% of likely 2010 voters support it and just 29% are opposed.
 - Among Democrats: 81% support, 14% oppose.
 - Among Independents: 63% support, 27% oppose.
 - Among Republicans: 45% support, 47% oppose.

• The energy bill could also be a powerful election issue, with support high among key electoral groups:
 - Among voters somewhat likely to vote for a Democrat in the 2010 elections: 71% support the bill and just 20% oppose.
 - Among voters somewhat likely to vote for a Republican in the 2010 elections: 60% support the bill and just 35% oppose.
 - Among undecided voters: 62% support the bill and just 21% oppose.
Click here to view the full poll memo: