Poll Shows Impressive Support for Renewable Energy in USA

The American public would increase budgetary spending on renewables by 1000 percent, while maing deep cuts in defense spending, according to a new national survey.

Published: 30-Mar-2005

onses in a random poll of 1182 American adults last month by Knowledge Networks found that the most dramatic changes would be deep cuts in defense spending, a significant reallocation to deficit reduction, reduction of the country’s reliance on oil, and increased spending on education, job training and veterans.

In percentage terms, the largest increase was for conservation and development of renewable energies, with the respondents calling for an increase of 1090% or US$24 billion. Support for renewables also had the highest percentage of respondents favouring an increase at 70%, while 42% favoured increases in the environment and natural resources with an increase of 32% or $9 billion.

Federal spending on renewables in the proposed Bush budget is $2.2 billion, which would increase to $26.2 billion under the survey conclusions.

The changes were called for both by Republicans and by Democrats, although changes were greater for the latter. When asked to redirect funding from the proposed budget without being told about the size of the federal deficit, 61% redirected $36 billion to reduce the deficit. Defense spending received the deepest cut at 31% or $134 billion, with 65% of respondents cutting. The second largest area to cut was aid for Iraq and Afghanistan, which would be cut 35% of $30 billion if the respondents were writing the budget.

The largest gross increase was for education, which would be increased by $27 billion (39%) and job training by $19 billion (263%). Medical research would increase by $16 billion (53%) and benefits for veterans would rise by $13 billion (40%).

“As Congress undertakes the process of making up a discretionary budget in response to the Administration’s recently proposed budget for FY 2006, the question arises of how well the proposed discretionary budget aligns with the priorities of the American public,” the report explains. The Program on International Policy Attitudes conducted a unique survey where respondents were presented with major items of the discretionary budget, and given an opportunity to redistribute funds.

The margin of error was in the survey was 2.9% to 4.1%, the pollster claims. For 16 of 18 budget areas, average changes made by Republicans and Democrats went in the same direction with slight differences in allocations for seven items, including renewable energy.

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