Midwestern Voters Willing to Pay More for Clean Energy

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SAINT PAUL (Feb. 19, 2012) – A majority of voters in four Midwestern states are willing to pay $6 a month on their electricity bills to help promote clean energy and energy efficiency, according to a telephone poll of 1,600 voters in Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin.

The poll, sponsored by the Minnesota Environmental Partnership (MEP), was conducted January 9-15, 2012.

In addition, voters in these four states expressed a strong preference for wind and solar power over natural gas, coal and nuclear power for future energy use.

The majority of voters polled (51%) were willing to pay as much as $6 more on their monthly electric bill in order to promote clean energy and energy efficiency. Another 37% were willing to pay an additional $2 to $4 per month. Only 8 percent of those polled were not willing to pay more on their monthly bills.

In one state – Minnesota – this $6 a month equates to more than doubling the amount of money that utilities spend to help consumers with weatherization and other energy efficiency programs.

Polling was conducted by the national bipartisan polling team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin & Metz and Public Opinion Strategies and has a 2.9 percent margin of error.

When asked what energy source they would like to see increased to meet their state’s future energy needs, voters overwhelmingly ranked wind and solar power as their top preferences. Support for increased solar power ranked a high 87 percent with wind power scoring virtually equal at 86 percent support. Lowest on the list for future energy sources was biomass with 49 percent support, followed closely by nuclear that showed only 52 percent support.

“Voters across the region back a wide range of policies that will move their state toward more clean energy use,” said Steve Morse, executive director of MEP. “We see an extremely positive response to energy efficiency in particular. Voters in this region believe it will save them money and create jobs – it’s a real winner.”

Morse added that the Midwest clean energy poll will provide important information to candidates in the 2012 elections about voters’ opinions on the energy futures of their states.

View the poll slides here (it may take a few minutes to load). More information about MEP can be found at www.MEPartnership.org.


POLL METHODOLOGY: From Jan. 9-15, 2012, the bipartisan research team of Fairbank, Maslin, Maullin, Metz & Associates (FM3) and Public Opinion Strategies (POS) completed 1,600 telephone interviews with likely voters in the Midwest: 400 each in the states of Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio and Wisconsin. Data have been statistically weighted to reflect the true geographic distribution of voters across the region.  The margin of sampling error for the combined four states is +/-2.9%; margins of error for subgroups within the sample will be larger. Comparisons to 2010 data used identical methodology. Survey was preceded by focus groups in December 2011 with swing voters in suburban communities of the Twin Cities; in Columbus, Ohio and in Brookfield, Wisc.


The Minnesota Environmental Partnership is a statewide coalition of more than 75 environmental and conservation nonprofits. Together, coalition members and supporters work for clean water, clean energy, and investments in Minnesota’s Great Outdoors through policy initiatives, public education, and community events like the Living Green Expo.

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