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 January 25, 2012
Government Investment in Renewable Energy as Popular as Death of Osama bin Laden

 Voters just love government investment in renewable energy --- much more than their representatives in Washington, it seems. I was reading an analysis of the State of the Union Address based on the response of "a group of 50 swing voters armed with dial meters" and came across this nugget:

Not surprisingly, the moment in the speech that brought the most positive reaction was Obama's mention of the death of Osama bin Laden. It drew an average reading of 80 on the 0-100 scale used by the meters. Obama's call for more investment in renewable energy drew nearly as strong a reaction, however, said Andrew Baumann, another of the pollsters who conducted the study. The passages of the speech that talked about phasing out subsidies for oil companies and competing with China and Germany for new developments in wind power and solar energy did particularly well.

And while small dial groups are hardly definitive by themselves, Climate Progress readers know that poll after poll after poll show the same thing (see Democrats Taking "Green" Positions on Climate Change "Won Much More Often" Than Those Remaining Silent and links to polls therein).

This enthusiasm has not waned even with all the attacks on clean energy --- see Independents Support Federal Investment in "Green Jobs" 2-to-1 Despite Solyndra Media Storm:

In dozens of focus groups we have conducted this month across the country on a wide variety of subjects, when voters are asked where they would like new jobs in their state to come from, the first words out of their mouths are almost always the same -- clean energy and related technology. Voters believe that the clean energy economy is here and is growing, and they want their state to have a part of it.

And yet in the face of this overwhelming popularity of clean energy, we're staring at job-killing cuts in federal clean energy investment and tax credits. Why? As a German State Minister explained: We Can Decarbonize With Renewables Because "We Don't Have the ... Koch Brothers."

Again, the Kochs haven't won over the majority of Americans or even the majority of swing voters --- only the majority of that narrow slice of the electorate that drives conservative politics, the Tea Party (see "Independents, Other Republicans Split With Tea-Party Extremists on Global Warming").

Some day, some masterful, Churchillian politician will figure this all out and lead the country toward true clean energy revolution. Some day.