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Study Tracks Statewide Energy Attitudes

The Public Policy Institute of California yesterday released the results of a broad poll on the attitudes of Californians concerning various environmental issues. Among the findings:

Nuclear power has, unsurprisingly, fallen out of favor in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and resulting crisis. 65% of state residents now oppose any new nuclear plants being constructed. Only 30% said they supported the expansion of nuclear power, down from 44% in July 2010.

The prospect of drilling for oil off the California coast draws mixed reactions, with 46% in favor and 49% opposed. Support for drilling increased 12% over last year, when the Deepwater Horizon rig was still dumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Opinions were more sharply divided along partisan lines (71% of Republicans favor drilling, 35% for Democrats) and by locale (54% of inland residents in favor, 42% for those in coastal communities). San Diego and Orange Counties were the only coastal areas to favor offshore drilling (52%).

77 percent of Californians approve of state policy requiring one-third of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. However, the support drops to 46% if poll respondents are told clean energy could result in higher electric bills. 80% of respondents want more federal funding to advance clean energy technologies.

On vehicle efficiency, respondents across the board (90% Democrats, 81% independents, 76% Republicans) like the idea of improved fuel mileage standards. The Obama administration will announce new fuel economy standards for the auto industry tomorrow.

California continues to be heavily car-dependent, and a lot more of us are drivers than passengers. 70% of working adults say they drive to work alone, with only 12% carpooling, 8% relying on public transit, and 3% and 2% respectively walking or riding a bicycle.

The full report, which was developed from interviews of 2,504 California adults, is available here.

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The Public Policy Institute of California yesterday released the results of a broad poll on the attitudes of Californians concerning various environmental issues. Among the findings:

Nuclear power has, unsurprisingly, fallen out of favor in the wake of the Fukushima disaster in Japan and resulting crisis. 65% of state residents now oppose any new nuclear plants being constructed. Only 30% said they supported the expansion of nuclear power, down from 44% in July 2010.

The prospect of drilling for oil off the California coast draws mixed reactions, with 46% in favor and 49% opposed. Support for drilling increased 12% over last year, when the Deepwater Horizon rig was still dumping oil into the Gulf of Mexico. Opinions were more sharply divided along partisan lines (71% of Republicans favor drilling, 35% for Democrats) and by locale (54% of inland residents in favor, 42% for those in coastal communities). San Diego and Orange Counties were the only coastal areas to favor offshore drilling (52%).

77 percent of Californians approve of state policy requiring one-third of the state’s energy to come from renewable sources such as wind and solar by 2020. However, the support drops to 46% if poll respondents are told clean energy could result in higher electric bills. 80% of respondents want more federal funding to advance clean energy technologies.

On vehicle efficiency, respondents across the board (90% Democrats, 81% independents, 76% Republicans) like the idea of improved fuel mileage standards. The Obama administration will announce new fuel economy standards for the auto industry tomorrow.

California continues to be heavily car-dependent, and a lot more of us are drivers than passengers. 70% of working adults say they drive to work alone, with only 12% carpooling, 8% relying on public transit, and 3% and 2% respectively walking or riding a bicycle.

The full report, which was developed from interviews of 2,504 California adults, is available here.

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