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New National Poll Finds Americans
Deeply Divided on Nation’s Current Track to Domestic Energy

Americans agree on the need for political leadership to support the development of cleaner, more domestic energy sources

WASHINGTON D.C. (October 11, 2012) —  A new national poll has found that Americans are deeply divided on whether they believe the United States is on the right or wrong track regarding domestic energy policy, while a plurality believe the government must lead the way in adopting domestic energy sources. Harris Interactive, a worldwide market research firm, conducted the poll by telephone among more than 1,000 U.S. adults; the Propane Education & Research Council (PERC) commissioned it. The survey’s purpose was to obtain quantitative data on the nation’s current views and habits regarding clean, affordable, and domestic energy.

The survey, titled “Energy Habits, Awareness & Perceptions,” found that 45 percent of Americans believe that the U.S. is headed in the right direction for finding domestic energy sources, but 43 percent believe the direction is wrong.  

There is agreement, however, that domestic energy must be addressed.  Overall, the poll found:

• 78 percent of Americans want political leaders to work on policy promoting domestic energy sources.
• The most widely cited rationale for pursuing domestic energy sources, among the 93% considering it important to do so, was energy security (85 percent), followed by job creation and economic security (84 percent) and lower prices at the pump (72 percent).
• A strong plurality (39 percent) of Americans believe the government, rather than consumers (20 percent), corporations (18 percent) or small businesses (14 percent), should lead the nation in adopting domestic sources of energy.

“The data speaks loud and clear about our nation’s viewpoint on the need to find domestic energy sources,” said Roy Willis, CEO and president of PERC. “Americans believe that regardless of who is elected president next month, serious steps need to be taken towards offering affordable solutions that make our nation more energy independent and cleaner.”

Additionally, the environmental aspects of energy are also a concern:

• Nearly three-fourths of respondents identify support of new environmentally friendly energy technology/products (74 percent) and infrastructure (73 percent) as topics they would like to see political leadership address in the coming year.
• Increasingly, Americans are bringing this environmental awareness into their own purchase decisions, as 61 percent of the survey respondents say they have bought more environmentally friendly products this year than they did five years ago. 
“Americans understand that the choices they make as consumers have a profound effect on where the road to a cleaner, greener future takes us,” Willis said. “But they ultimately hold political leadership and government accountable as the ones who should pave that road.”

Despite the consensus on the importance of pursuing green energy, perceived barriers remain. When asked why they think Americans have not fully embraced environmentally friendly fuels, 67 percent cited cost.

As these results indicate, domestic, green, affordable sources of energy are becoming more attractive to Americans. While propane currently offers a viable and clean solution in markets such as fleet, lawn and landscape, agriculture, forklifts, and residential and commercial construction, PERC intends to use the data from this survey as a baseline for future research and development endeavors.

“These findings give us more insight as to what Americans want the future of energy to look like,” Willis said. “The propane industry will continue working with innovative manufacturers and researchers to develop clean, cost-effective solutions across several markets.”

For more information about the 2012 Energy Habits, Awareness & Perceptions survey, visit http://www.propanecouncil.org/harris-interactive-detailed-findings/.

Methodology
The Domestic Energy Habits, Awareness & Perceptions survey was conducted via telephone (both land lines and mobile lines) within the United States between September 14 and 17, 2012 among 1007 U.S. adults aged 18 and older.  Results from the study were weighted as needed for age, gender, race/ethnicity, education, region, household income and interview method (land line vs. mobile line) to align them with their actual proportions in the population.  A full methodology is available upon request.

All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with nonresponse, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments.  Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading.  All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates.  These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.

Please note that due to rounding, calculated scores may appear to be a point off and that not all percentages will necessarily add up to 100%.