Thursday, September 17, 2009

National Opinion Polling Finds Strong Support for Natural Gas

/PRNewswire-/ -- According to polling by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group, more than 75 percent of the American public expect natural gas to play a significant role in our nation's energy future.

Natural gas out-scored wind, solar, hydro, nuclear, coal, biofuels, oil produced in the US and oil imported from other countries as an energy source that the public most expects to play a significant role for the country in the next five to 10 years.

The American public not only expects to rely more on natural gas, but also has very favorable views about it. Opinions of natural gas rank right alongside solar power, hydro power, wind power, and domestically produced oil in favorable perceptions. In a "thermometer" ranking from cold/very unfavorable (0) to warm/very favorable (100), natural gas rated a mean score of 71, with other top tier energy sources ranging from 73-81. Second tier energy sources were ethanol and biofuels, nuclear power, coal and oil imported from foreign countries. Second tier thermometer ratings ranged from 26-54.

Americans also report a fairly high degree of familiarity with natural gas. Sixty-nine percent (69%) report being very or somewhat familiar with natural gas, and more than half (56%) reported using it in their homes. However, while Americans feel they have some basic knowledge about natural gas, they feel far from comfortable enough to consider themselves "very familiar" with how it is used. In fact, just 16% would consider themselves "very familiar" with natural gas, providing an opportunity for natural gas to educate the public about its uses and benefits. Americans know even less about how natural gas is produced (44% total familiar, 16% very familiar). Opinion Elites nationally and D.C. Policy Elites have a much higher familiarity with the uses of natural gas than the general public.

"It is very clear from the opinion polling that Americans have very positive views about natural gas today and as an energy source of greater importance for the future," said Rod Lowman, president and CEO of America's Natural Gas Alliance who funded the opinion study. "It is clear that the public has a good understanding of natural gas as a clean, efficient energy source. America's Natural Gas Alliance's mission is to educate policymakers about this support and how abundant American natural gas can help lead us to a cleaner energy future."

The research identified three key areas of strong public support for natural gas:

1. The national security issue since the overwhelming majority of natural
gas used in the U.S. is produced domestically in America;
2. The economic value of natural gas in its ability to create new jobs and
significant economic impact in America; and
3. The environmental value of natural gas in its ability to dramatically
reduce greenhouse gases.

"We found key themes about natural gas that clearly resonated with the public - a clean source of energy, its abundant supply, its domestic production, and its ability to create jobs and economic growth," added the ANGA president.

The public opinion polling was funded by America's Natural Gas Alliance and included three studies by Public Opinion Strategies and the Mellman Group:

-- Eight focus groups in June in the cities of Indianapolis, Albuquerque,
Boston and Birmingham
-- A national telephone survey of 800 adults in July
-- The margin of error for this survey is +/- 3.46%;
-- A national online survey of 300 Opinion Elites in July
-- Opinion Elites can be defined as college graduates, who have a
personal income of at least $60,000 a year, are between the ages
of 26-69, are likely voters, follow politics/current events
closely, and have displayed at least two acts of civil
participation in the last two years.

Additionally, Strategy One conducted a Beltway area survey in July of 400 Policy Elites, including 200 Democrats and 200 Republicans.

-- D.C. Policy Elites can be defined as Opinion Elites who live in the
most politically active regions of Washington, have at least a college
degree, and work or have worked in key D.C. establishments.

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