Posted November 3, 2015
API assembled a great panel of election/campaign experts to discuss how Election 2016 is shaping up and which issues will be salient when Americans vote a year from now. As for predicting the key issues 12 months into the future, the experts said what honest experts say: Who knows for sure? Yet, Public Opinion Strategies’ Glen Bolger no doubt was in the ballpark:
“I don’t think any one issue is going to dominate the election. … You’re going to have a number of different issues debated: foreign policy and national security being up there, the economy and jobs … Energy certainly can play a role in that, just given that it is a component of jobs and the economy. It’s a component of our national security, it’s a component of our foreign policy. I think energy will be an issue, but the question is how big.”
Great point. Energy and advancing the right policies for American energy certainly run through a number of the things Americans say they care about most: jobs, a thriving economy and safety for themselves and their families. That’s what comes through the results of a new Harris Poll of 2,800 registered voters: energy, energy, energy. There are clear signals for 2016 candidates at all levels:
79 percent of registered voters support increased oil and natural gas production right here at home, and the support is strongly bipartisan – 90 percent of Republicans, 70 percent of Democrats and 77 percent of Independents.
71 percent of voters say they’re more likely to back a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas here at home. That’s 85 percent of Republicans and 64 percent of both Democrats and Independents.
61 percent support exporting a portion of America’s natural gas and oil to U.S. allies, to assist them with their energy needs – which is shaping up as a specific energy issue in the coming campaign. Again, the support for U.S. energy exports is strong and bipartisan: 63 percent of Republicans and Independents and 61 percent of Democrats.
Other key results: 86 percent agree that increasing access to domestic oil and natural gas reserves could create jobs; 84 percent agree increased access to oil and gas reserves could help stimulate the economy; 78 percent agree that increased access to reserves could help lower consumer energy costs; 85 percent agree that increased access to reserves could help strengthen America's energy security; 80 percent support increased development of U.S. energy infrastructure; and 64 percent support offshore drilling.
API President and CEO Jack Gerard said the poll results signal to policymakers and would-be policymakers that support for American energy is broad and deep:
“A strong majority of American citizens strongly support expanded development, production and activities associated with oil and natural gas. Energy is closely tied … to the issues that matter most – job creation and economic recovery. Among the poll’s other findings … is you have strong support clear across the spectrum, from production to refining.”
Gerard said that conversely, Americans oppose actions and policies that would hinder energy development or increase energy costs for consumers – including higher taxes (66 oppose), federal regulation (75 percent) and legislation (74 percent). Fifty-three percent of voters don't think the federal government is doing enough to encourage domestic oil and natural gas development.
Panelists at our event said energy offers a unique opportunity for bipartisan cooperation in Washington. “There will be a moment in the next few years when there can be compromise on energy,” said Rob Engstrom of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. These poll results certainly say that most Americans want domestic energy objectives advanced and that it matters in how they vote.
“Pro-energy policies are a clear winner because likely voters from both parties recognize its key role in job creation and economic growth. Voters say they support candidates who stand behind pro-development, all-of-the-above energy policies. The results of our poll provide a lesson for candidates running in 2016: pro-energy policies win.”
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Mark Green joined API after a career in newspaper journalism, including 16 years as national editorial writer for The Oklahoman in the paper’s Washington bureau. Mark also was a reporter, copy editor and sports editor. He earned his journalism degree from the University of Oklahoma and master’s in journalism and public affairs from American University. He and his wife Pamela live in Occoquan, Va., where they enjoy their four grandchildren.