What exactly do we want when it comes to an energy policy? A recent poll shows the public would rather seek new energy sources than significantly cut back on their usage. Are the polls correct?
That’s the question on the second hour (10 a.m.) of Midmorning today.
Carroll Doherty: associate director of the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press; Matt Wald, a reporter for the New York Times; and Frank Newport:, editor in chief of The Gallup Poll join Kerri Miller.
News Cut is live-blogging and providing your assessment. You can listen to the program and provide your commentary in the comments section below.
10:05 a.m. – We’re ready to go. You never know how these things are going to go. This topic should be interesting. Hopefully it’ll involve a minimum of self-righteousness.
10:09 a.m. – Here’s the Pew survey.
10:13 a.m. – Is $4 the “new normal?” Doherty asks. If so, how will this affect the spike in America’s attitudes toward drilling and exploration?
10:15 Caller “David,” who teaches science, says he’s disturbed by lack of framing question with “conversion” fossil fuels to alternative sources. Carroll Doherty says “that’s true, we just want to get a sense of where the public’s attitudes are.” Would’ve liked to do a fuller exploration of the public’s views, and says it’s notable that measures aimed at reducing consumption get overwhelming support. 90% say they favor higher CAFE standards and increased funding for mass transit. He says more and more Americans say expanded exploration have to be part of that mix.
Interesting — to me — is the comment of Todd below. He’s not buying that there isn’t some conspiracy behind all of this, what with the phony rolling blackouts in California and Enron’s shenanigans in the past.
10:22 a.m. – Matt Wald of the New York Times joins us and reacts to the point here on News Cut about trust. “I want to go back a step. I don’t think it matters whether you trust the oil companies or not.” Sigh. He says the supposition in the Pew poll is that the answer is going to affect the price. He doesn’t think it will because if you add supply, demand is still rising faster than supply. “We could find oil and we could find that the price went up anyway.”
10:26 a.m. – Interesting comment from Neil (which I may read on the air) in the comments section. If I read it correctly, we’re shoveling the living standards sand against the rising cost of energy tide.
10:29 a.m. – Beth calls to say the situation is a failure of environmental education, noting that the oceans and ANWR are under stress. The question I have, though, is whether people care to the degree, perhaps, they once did?
Matt Wald says the problem with polls is events move on. If you asked right after Katrina what’s our biggest problem, people would’ve said “global warming.” Now they’ve moved on to $4 gasoline. Polls don’t get oil wells dug. It’s companies deciding whether they can make money at it.
10:34 a.m. – During the news break, Kerri and I are chatting about the generation differences. Coincidentally, Jonna has jjust posted a comment say the young people have a sense of entitlement. “They don’t look at their consumption, they just want more.”
10:37 a.m. – We’re joined by Frank Newport of the Gallup Poll who says the issue has not surpassed Iraq as the chief concern in the country right now. He says people answering polls now are much more likely to respond to anything that “sounds like it might lower the price of gasoline.”
10:40 a.m. – The environmental aspect is still “the great divide” politically speaking, Newport says. He adds that it makes it more difficult for both McCain and Obama to move “toward the center” on the issue.
10:42 a.m. – Queried by Wald, Newport says Al Gore would be disappointed to learn that his climate change movie hasn’t changed peoples’ attitudes. Wald says the high price of natural gas may motivate more exploration.
10:47 a.m. – Just read Jonna’s comment on the air. Matt Wald responds, if the belief is we have a right to cheaper energy, we have a problem. If it’s that we can find alternative sources, then there’s hope. He says younger people are more likely to have the latter view than the former.
10:50 a.m. – Wald says he ‘runs for the exit’ when he hears the term energy independence. It’s not possible, he says.
10:51 a.m. — According to the poll above 93% of those surveyed favor conservation. According to the 93% of those passing me at 75 mph while I’m driving 55, there might be a high “you conserve, I’ll talk about you conserving” factor here.
10:53 a.m. – Wald says the next crisis may be electricity. Power lines aren’t being built, natural gas (which powers electric plants) are at a high price. “We’re going to feel it,” he says. Might want to go turn down the air conditioning.
10:54 a.m. – Wald responds to caller — and commenter — about the oil companies not drilling on land they already own. “The oil companies don’t seem convinced that $140 a barrel oil is here to stay.”
10:56 a.m. – Kerri says even if people are passing me at 75 mph, they might be conserving “in other ways.” Is that you. Let’s keep talking during the afternoon. I’ll meet you down in the comments section.