Voters oppose government support for clean energy? Not so fast…

  • Published on September 26th, 2011

Rasmussen reports, the conservative pollster, has a new survey out that claims 59 % of voters oppose government loan help for alternative energy companies like Solyndra.

But it’s funny how surveys work. There’s a big difference between asking clean questions, and horrifically loaded questions that are carefully weighted to get the response you prefer. Guess which kind Rasmussen asked?

Rasmussen claims “Fifty-seven percent (57%) of Likely U.S. Voters think free market competition is more likely than government subsidies and regulation to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy. A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 27% believe government subsidies and regulations are the better way to go. Sixteen percent (16%) are not sure.”

Here are Rasmussen’s survey questions, in order:

  1.  How closely have you followed recent news reports about Solyndra?
  2. In 2009, private investors refused to invest more money in Solyndra but the government wanted to support an alternative energy company. The federal government then provided Solyndra with a $535 million loan guarantee. When private investors refuse to invest in alternative energy companies, should the federal government provide loan guarantees or loans to help keep the company in business?
  3. When business owners support a winning politician, do they get special treatment when applying for government loan guarantees?
  4. What’s more likely to help the United States develop alternative sources of energy – free market competition or government subsidies and regulations?
  5. If private investors will not invest in companies that want do develop solar or wind power, should the federal government provide funding for those companies to develop alternative sources of power?

What are the odds of them getting “clean” answers after loading the questions that way? If you said “Slim to none”, then you’d probably make a better pollster than Rasmussen.

But you can also bet that these results will be trumpeted on Fox News as evidence that the public doesn’t support clean energy.

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More on solar, Solyndra and subsidies:

(Solyndragatepocalypse image by Mark Fiore)


About the Author

Jeremy Bloom is the Editor of RedGreenAndBlue. He lives in New York, where he combines his passion for the environment with his passion for film, and is working on making the world a better place.