API: Poll Shows US Voters Link Energy Development, Economic Recovery

API: Poll Shows US Voters Link Energy Development, Economic Recovery

A recent poll by the American Petroleum Institute (API) found that U.S. voters favor increased access to domestic oil and gas resources, and see oil and gas development as a way to create jobs.

Seventy-one percent of the 1,016 registered voters polled by Harris Interactive in telephone interviews throughout the United States from August 9-12 said they supported opening more U.S. oil and natural gas resources for development.

Republican voters and voters aged 55 years and older favored opening more oil and gas resource development. Eighty-five percent of Republican voters polled strongly or somewhat agreed with increasing access to U.S. energy resources, while 73 percent of voters over the age of 55 strongly or somewhat agreed with increased access.

The poll also found that:

  • 72 percent of independent voters either strongly or somewhat agreed with increased access to oil and gas resources
  • 60 percent of Democrats strongly or somewhat agreed with increased access to oil and gas resources
  • 72 percent of voters aged 35-54 strongly or somewhat agreed with increased access
  • 66 percent of votes aged 18-34 strongly or somewhat agreed with increased access

Ninety percent of those voters agreed that increased access to domestic resources could lead to more U.S.-based jobs.

Ninety-five percent of voters identifying as Republicans strongly or somewhat agreed that increased oil and gas activity could result in more job creation. Ninety-three percent of voters aged 18-34 strongly or somewhat agreed that more oil and gas activity could lead to more jobs, according to the poll results.

According to the results:

  • 91 percent of independents believed increased domestic oil and gas access could lead to more jobs
  • 85 percent of Democrats polled thought increased oil and gas access could result in job creation
  • 90 percent of voters aged 55 and older believed more oil and gas development could lead to more jobs
  • 89 percent of voters aged 35-54 agreed that greater access to hydrocarbon resources could lead to more U.S.-based jobs

Seventy-three percent of voters polled also support changing policies to allow more offshore development. More Republicans favored offshore drilling, with 85 percent supporting changes in policies. Support for increased offshore development by age groups was strongest among voters aged 18-34, with 78 percent voicing support.

Seventy-five percent of voters polled support development of the Keystone XL Pipeline. More Republican voters favored the pipeline project, while support was split fairly evenly among the three age groups polled at around 75 percent.

The poll results showed that 87 percent of voters agreed that access to more domestic oil and natural gas could help lower energy costs for consumers. Sixty-five percent of voters agreed that increases in energy taxes could drive up energy costs.

The poll also found that 63 percent of voters think Washington is on the wrong track regarding U.S. energy policy.

Poll Results the Fruit of API Vote for Energy Campaign

The poll results are the fruit borne of API's Vote for Energy campaign, a multi-million dollar effort launched in January to encourage discussion of U.S. energy policy and issues, said API President and CEO Jack Gerard in a conference call Tuesday.

With 92 percent of voters polled saying that energy security and domestic oil and gas production are important issues for the November presidential election, API continues to lobby for a true all of the above energy policy with action and vision, not just lip service from the administration, Gerard said during the call.

The results show that voters "clearly get" the issue of how oil and gas development can impact the nation's economy, Gerard said, pointing to the expansions in U.S. industries such as steel that have been made possible by expanded exploration and production activity.

Now, API has taken its campaign to swing states Colorado, Virginia, Florida, North Carolina and Ohio, where both President Obama and Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney have been campaigning, to encourage discussion about the United States' energy future and the impact that oil and gas activity can have on the economy.

API has also recruited 3 million grassroots supporters to support API's efforts, and said API has been speaking with candidates of both parties who are up for election this fall.

"It's not about political parties, it's about good sound public policy," Gerard noted. "Having a pro-development business climate can have a positive impact on the economy."

Gerard would like to see a "realistic robust debate" about energy realities by President Obama, presidential candidate Mitt Romney and others running for public office this fall.

While API supports wind and solar development, Gerard said having an "all-of-the-above" energy policy focused on energy resources that fill a small percentage of U.S. energy needs will have an adverse effect on the economy.

"The United States has had a de facto energy policy for the past 40 years," said Gerard, with little programs here and there, and not holistic plan that will allow the country to solve its energy issues.

Gerard criticized Obama as pursuing a "none of the below" energy policy, noting that current federal government restrictions keep more than 85 percent of the United States' offshore areas off limits to development of domestic oil and gas resources.

Gerard noted that all the Department of Interior's decision to open 11.8 million acres of the National Petroleum Reserve in Alaska for oil and gas development was taking lands that, by law, had been set aside for oil and gas development in the 1920s, and making them available again.

Much of the administration's current energy policy has been focused on developing U.S. Environmental Protection Agency regulations for hydraulic fracturing, which could result in a chilling effect on the oil and gas industry, Gerard said.

Another roadblock to energy development in the U.S. tax code, which needs to be modernized and written with the philosophy that everybody should be under the same rules, rather than a system that "picks winners and losers" and not singling out an industry for punitive treatment.


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