A new poll is out about American opinion on solutions for high energy prices, the Washington Post reports in Most Favor New Drilling, Taxes on Oil Profits.
Our readers will probably be hearing a lot about this poll from the GOP, with the suggestion, as per the WaPo, that it supports their positions alone.
That's definitely not the case when one looks at the details of the poll and the actual positions taken by MN-01 congressional candidates.
The WaPo spins the polling to the right:
Nearly two-thirds of Americans now put a priority on "finding new sources of energy" over improving conservation -- a significant shift since 2001 -- and majorities support all of the five potential federal initiatives tested in a new ABC News poll.
There is overwhelming backing for stricter fuel efficiency standards, as large majorities of Democrats, Republicans and independents alike line up behind the idea. There is also widespread support across party lines for a more controversial proposal in the battle over energy policy: offshore oil drilling.
Overall, 63 percent want the federal government to lift its embargo on new drilling in U.S. coastal waters. Nearly eight in 10 Republicans and seven in 10 independents back the idea, as do just over half of Democrats in the poll conducted in partnership with Stanford University and Planet Green.
If you read only that article, you'd come anyway with a blurry snapshot of the ABCNews poll--a distorted snapshot of a snapshot, as it were.
For a more in-depth review of the poll--with less of the WaPo's patented "this is good news for Republicans" spin (it always is in the WaPo's world), we recommend the far more indepth coverage over at ABC News, Fuel Costs Boost Conservation Efforts; 7 in 10 Reducing 'Carbon Footprint.' The twenty page pdf report on the survey is far more helpful for understanding what Americans want than the Washington Post article. We recommend that our readers check it out.
If this poll can be interpreted as representative of Southern Minnesota (a risky venture, indeed, as anyone familiar with scientific polling can vouch), we speculate this poll is not good news for Brian Davis.
We've clipped and reproduced the chart at the head of this post in order to illustrate our bold point. What federal policy initiative drew the most supporters? According to the survey, seventy-eight percent of those polled favored "increasing fuel efficiency standards."
Congressman Walz voted to do so in the 2007 energy bill. One of the cornerstones of Brian Davis's energy policy is to repeal fuel efficiency (CAFE) standards. In a January email to supporters, Davis proposed:
Eliminating current automobile mileage standards and government-imposed production mandates. The free market and the laws of supply and demand work much better than our government attempting to mandate conservation and setting quotas.
Americans overwhelmingly disagree with Davis's extreme stance on CAFE standards, and the moderate McPherson Hall at Minnesota Central readily debunked Davis's ideological assessment in early June in In MN-01 Davis opposes mandates but what about subsidies?:
The history of CAFE (Corporate Average Fuel Economy) is pretty short. The first mandate was part of the “Energy Policy Conservation Act,” enacted into law by Congress in 1975 which was passed in response to the 1973-74 Arab oil embargo. The next major change will be affected by the Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 after President Bush requested the first increase in CAFE standards in January. The legislation was overwhelmingly approved by Congress including including Minnesota’s Norm Coleman and 36 other Republican Senators. It will require in part that automakers boost fleetwide gas mileage to 35 mpg by the year 2020.
Davis contention that were “little success” are disputed by a committee of the National Academy of Sciences who wrote a 2002 report on the effects of the CAFE standard. The report’s conclusions include a finding that in the absence of CAFE, and with no other fuel economy regulation substituted, motor vehicle fuel consumption would have been approximately 14 percent higher than it actually was in 2002.
Next, sixty-three percent of Americans want the embargoes on offshore drilling lifted. H.R. 6709, which Congressman Walz helped draft, would lift many restrictions on offshore drilling, directing the royalties toward energy research, conservation and environmental restoration. (The poll also says that Americans still look favorably on environmentally-inclined candidates).
Walz, along with nearly two-dozen colleagues, joined the bipartisan House Energy Working Group and helped draft H.R. 6709. The one constant for membership was a commitment to allow more offshore drilling. Walz supports doing so provided is part of a bipartisan comprehensive energy solution."that includes conservation, speeds up development of new affordable fuels and cracks down on speculation."
According to the ABCNews survey, sixty-one percent of Americans support efforts to curb speculation, so Walz and the Energy Working Group are not alone in their desire to cool it down. Republican challenger Dick Day told the Star Tribune he supports such efforts, while Brian Davis opposed them.
Fifty-five percent of Americans want oil companies to pay higher taxes, equal to the percentage that wants to drill in wilderness areas. Davis and Day are now highlighting their support of drilling in ANWR, but we don't recall hearing much about the equally popular option of raising taxes on oil companies.
There's more. Go read the whole thing--for there's more bad news for Davis in the poll. Davis insists that there's no connection between human activity and climate change. Find out what those surveyed thought the government's position should be.
As we noted at the beginning of this post, we'll be hearing a lot about this poll in the coming days--and we suspect that much of it will be digested and spun out as more horse apples in the First. Go read it and be informed.