UW Poll: Wyomingites Favor Many Energy Solutions

November 17, 2008

A University of Wyoming poll shows that Wyoming residents favor a variety of solutions to meet the United States' energy needs, including near-unanimous support for the development and use of renewable energy.

The statewide telephone survey of 500 Wyoming residents was conducted in October by UW's Wyoming Survey and Analysis Center. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.5 percent.

In addition to widespread support for wind power (97 percent) and solar power (96 percent), the majority of respondents favored expanding petroleum production by pumping more oil from existing wells (87 percent), drilling more offshore wells (74 percent) and opening the Alaskan National Wildlife Refuge for oil production (56 percent).

The increased use of nuclear energy also received considerable support, with 60 percent of respondents voting in favor.

Respondents, though, were split on whether the U.S. should release oil from its strategic oil reserve, with 49 percent in favor and 44 percent in opposition.

"Senators (Mike) Enzi (R-Gillette) and (John) Barrasso (R-Casper) and Representive-elect (Cynthia) Lummis (R-Cheyenne) have stated that addressing the nation's energy needs will be among their priorities when Congress convenes in January," says Jim King, a professor of political science at UW and the poll's director. "Our survey results indicate that Wyoming residents are open to many solutions to the current energy situation."

The UW Department of Political Science has conducted biennial surveys of Wyoming residents since 1972. The surveys focus on residents' attitudes toward government, contemporary policy issues, elected officials and candidates for office.

For more information, call King at (307) 766-6239 or e-mail jking@uwyo.edu.

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