Poll: New Jersey voters favor renewable energy over natural gas
New Jerseyans of both political parties overwhelmingly support renewable energy like wind and solar and agree the state should adopt a goal of having 80 percent of the state's energy come from such sources, according to a new poll by Fairleigh Dickinson University's PublicMind for ReThink Energy NJ.
"While many of our current leaders in Washington deny the threat of climate change and promote fossil fuels, New Jerseyans take a very different view, and want clean, renewable energy, not more polluting fossil fuels," said Tom Gilbert, campaign director, ReThink Energy NJ and New Jersey Conservation Foundation.
"New Jerseyans continue to be very concerned about the potential risks linked to pipeline development and the lack of investment in developing clean energy sources. We need our state leaders to heed this call."
Nearly 90 percent of those surveyed believe renewable energy is important to the overall health of New Jersey, and nearly 75 percent are willing to pay $5 to $10 more per month on their energy bills for energy generated from solar and wind.
Not only are New Jerseyans highly supportive of renewables, they are more accurately defining which energy sources really are clean. There was a significant drop from last year in the number of people who consider natural gas, a fossil fuel like coal and oil, to be clean energy, to 41 percent from 62 percent in a PublicMind survey in 2016.
"The overwhelming support for renewables shows that voters clearly know what sources of energy they want more of, and it's not gas," Gilbert said.
Other key poll takeaways include:
• Approximately four of five (78 percent) New Jerseyans favor a goal of 80 percent renewable energy in New Jersey by 2050.
• 77 percent believe the state should invest more in developing clean energy sources rather than fossil fuels and pipelines (22 percent), with three in five (64 percent) saying New Jersey is moving too slowly in this area.
• Three-fourths (73 percent) favor developing off-shore wind energy off the coast of New Jersey.
• 54 percent say a gubernatorial candidate's support for renewable energy would make them more likely to vote for them, including 69 percent of Democrats and 49 percent of Independents.
Climate change continues to be a strong concern among New Jersey voters, with three quarters (76 percent) "very" or "somewhat" concerned about it. Some 64 percent attribute climate change to human activity, more than double the 36 percent who consider it mostly a natural pattern.
The findings of the poll are consistent with others over the past three years. Support for renewable energy stays strong among all demographic groups, with women, younger voters, and Democrats showing more support than men, older voters and Republicans, officials said.
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