Candidates’ energy plans impact voting decisions

Knoxville, Tenn. – In national survey data for a full study released October 24, the  fourth annual Shelton Group Energy Pulse 2008 survey reports that 61 percent of registered voters say the U.S.  presidential candidates’ energy plans would affect their voting decision somewhat to very much.

Energy Pulse tested the reaction to both Barack Obama’s and John McCain’s energy platforms, as stated  on both candidates’ websites. Respondents heard each  candidate’s plans and were asked which they thought was
the best.  The result was a statistical dead heat: 41.6 percent preferred McCain’s plan, while 38.5 percent preferred Obama’s plan.

For three previous years (2005-2007), Energy Pulse has found that Americans primarily blame the U.S.  government for high energy prices.  In response to this finding, Shelton Group expanded this area of the Energy  Pulse 2008 study by dividing this query into two different questions: “Who is most to blame for home energy  costs?” and “Who is most to blame for rising gasoline costs?”

These dual questions resulted in very different answers.  Americans still primarily blame the U.S.  government for high home energy costs (27 percent), followed by U.S. consumer demand (22 percent).
 
Interestingly, utilities registered far down the list, at 5 percent.

However, the oil companies were thought to be the primary culprits for rising gasoline costs (27 percent).

Even so, the U.S. government was the second most common answer, at 24 percent.
Energy Pulse further asked, "Should the government be doing more to reduce our dependence on fossil  fuels?”  The overwhelming answer – by 90 percent – was “yes.”
 
Those who responded affirmatively were then asked "What should the government be doing?"  The top  answers were "should invest more in research to find alternatives” (29 percent), "should be more proactive and  develop a plan” (16 percent), and "should allow drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and / or off the U.S.  coast" (13 percent). 

Consumers reported much higher increases in home utility costs than in previous years.  44 percent of  consumers said their energy bills had gone up by 10 to 30 percent.  22 percent reported their bills had gone up  more than 30 percent. 
 
Shelton Group is an advertising agency entirely focused on energy, energy efficiency and sustainability.  Among its clients are  energy, energy efficiency, conservation and green marketing groups.

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