New poll shows public supports ethanol

By Anna Austin | July 08, 2008
Web exclusive posted July 18, 2008 at 3:00 p.m. CST

Democratic polling firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner Research Inc. and Republican polling firm Public Opinion Strategies recently conducted a joint poll to test public support for ethanol. Results for the survey, which was commissioned by the Renewable Fuels Association, were released July 10. Anna Greenberg, senior vice president of GQR, held a media teleconference July 15 to discuss the findings.

The firms polled 1,200 registered voters June 23 to July 1, including oversamples of environmentalists and "opinion formers." Environmentalists were defined as "voters who either belong or contribute to an environmental organization," and opinion formers were described as "voters who are college educated or better, interested in national issues and consumers of national news."

Questions in the survey ranged from if voters felt the U.S. was "on the right track" to whether they support ethanol, and the reasons believed to be responsible for rising food costs.

According to a report with the poll's results: "The pro-ethanol majority is big and broad. Asked if they favor or oppose continuing to increase use of ethanol, an impressive 59 percent come out in favor, while just 30 percent oppose. Support is even higher (63 percent) among environmentalists. Most impressive, though, at a time when Democrats and Republicans cannot seem to agree on anything, they agree on the increased use of ethanol."

Other findings from the poll were:

  • Voters blame oil, not ethanol, for the high price of food.

  • National presidential candidates are advantaged by supporting ethanol.

  • Many voters have heard about the recent ethanol debate and its impact has been mixed.

"The recent barrage of stories about ethanol has failed to move the country," the poll concluded. "Voters of all partisan and ideological stripes support increased use of this important, homegrown energy alternative and do not blame ethanol for the rising cost of food. The steadfast support of environmentalists is particularly telling, in that much of the campaign against ethanol has been waged in the environmental community."