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United States

LITTLE SUPPORT FOR CONSERVATIVE POLICIES

Opinion polls in the US concerning renewable energy show that most Americans favour a shift of energy research money from nuclear and fossils to renewables and efficiency. The data also reveal a tremendous consistency over the last four years. Two-thirds of the individuals questioned also said the government should provide tax incentives and similar support to promote renewable technology and energy efficiency.

Many Americans think the government should focus its energy research on renewables, including wind and solar, and cut programmes for nuclear and coal, says a new survey by the Sustainable Energy Budget Coalition, a group of conservation organisations.

Forty-two per cent of those questioned by a Republican pollster cited renewables as their top priority when the GOP Congress cuts Department of Energy (DOE) funding, said the Alliance to Save Energy at a Washington press conference. Renewables were also selected by another 22% as the second-highest priority. The survey is entitled "Energy: Post Election Views."

Energy efficiency and conservation technologies were chosen as top priority by 22%, and as the second highest by another 27%, said the groups. Another 15% chose natural gas first, 9% nuclear, 7% fossil fuel and the remainder did not know or answer. "American tax-payers know a good deal when they see one," said David Nemtzow of the Alliance. Nuclear was also singled out by 44% of those polled as the source that should be cut first if the new Congress seeks DOE cuts, while 29% said fossils should be cut first.

When asked specifically if they agreed with reducing DOE funding and also shifting it from nuclear and fossils to renewables and efficiency, 75% of those questioned agreed and 18% disagreed. Even Republicans and Southerners, the least supportive of renewables and efficiency, supported such a shift in priorities by a margin of more than three to one. "My basic read on these data is that overall there is tremendous consistencyƉ over the last four years," said the pollster, Vincent Breglio. "This makes the case for taking a very long look at the priorities assigned to areas such as renewables and energy conservation as voters assess how their tax dollars ought to be spent."

Of the 1000 randomly selected voters, 74% said the government should provide tax incentives and other federal support to expand the development of renewable technologies and energy efficiency. Those disagreeing numbered 18%, according to the survey. Respondents opposed to incentives for nuclear and fossils numbered 51%, while only 42% supported them. Lastly, 85% of respondents supported the idea of the government in partnership with business to open new domestic and international markets. The survey was conducted in early December but not released until December 29. It had a margin of error of plus or minus 3%. Breglio served as director for polling for the Reagan-Bush campaign in 1980 and 1984 and for the Bush-Quayle campaign in 1988.

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