A survey by Pew Research Center shows Americans are shifting their attitudes towards energy exploration.
As Gas Prices Pinch, Support for Energy Exploration Rises
More Favor Drilling in ANWR
Amid record gas prices, public support for greater energy exploration is spiking. Compared with just a few months ago, many more Americans are giving higher priority to more energy exploration, rather than more conservation. An increasing proportion also says that developing new sources of energy - rather than protecting the environment - is the more important national priority.
The latest nationwide survey by the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press, conducted June 18-29 among 2,004 adults, also finds that half of Americans now support drilling in Alaska's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, up from 42% in February.
The public's changing energy priorities are most evident in the growing percentage that views increased energy exploration - including mining and drilling, as well as the construction of new power plants - as a more important priority for energy policy than increased conservation and regulation. Nearly half (47%) now rates energy exploration as the more important priority, up from 35% in February. The proportion saying it is more important to increase energy conservation and regulation has declined by 10 points (from 55% to 45%).
And, the partisan, age, gender divide has disappeared.
Partisan Gap over Energy Exploration Disappears
Much of the increase in support for energy exploration has come among groups that previously viewed this as a less important priority than energy conservation - young people, liberals, independents, Democrats, women and people who have attended college.
Fully half of people ages 18 to 29 (51%) now say expanding energy exploration is a more important priority for energy policy than increasing energy conservation and regulation; only about a quarter of young people (26%) expressed this view in February. The proportion of liberals who say expanded energy exploration is the more important priority also has doubled (from 22% to 45%).
The gender gap in attitudes about whether greater exploration or greater conservation is the more important priority has disappeared, as women have become much more supportive of expanded exploration (up 18 points).
Similarly, more independents (19 points) and Democrats (16 points) view increased energy exploration as the more important priority. About the same proportions of Democrats (46%) and Republicans (43%) now say expanded exploration, rather than increased conservation, should take precedence; in February, far more Republicans than Democrats expressed this view.