Even after several months of messaging from the conservative movement that solar power, in the wake of Solyndra, is an expensive failure, more than 9 in 10 Americans think it's important that the U.S. develop more solar power generating capacity. That's according to a poll by Hart Research Associates that was announced this week.
The poll of 1,206 likely voters in the 2012 elections, conducted between September 4 and 9, found that 92% of respondents thought it was either very important (58%) or somewhat important (34%) for the U.S. to "develop and use solar power." A surprising 84% of Republicans agreed, as did 98% and 95% of Democrats and independents, respectively.
Seventy-four percent of respondents said that energy was either "very important" or "one of the most important" issues to them in the run-up to the election, while 85% had either a very favorable or somewhat favorable opinion of solar energy in general, making it the most popular energy source mentioned in the poll. The only energy source that came close in popularity was wind, at 82%. Coal came in last at a relatively miserable 32%.
And even as politicos keep to talking points that slam federal funding of solar companies, 64% of respondents said that the federal government should provide financial incentives for solar energy production, again beating all other renewable and conventional energy resources in popularity. Only 20% of voters said that no form of energy should get government subsidies.
Geoff Garin, president of Hart Research Associates, said, "These results clearly show that American voters across the political spectrum have a strong favorable view of solar energy and the solar industry, and they believe that government has an important role to play in allowing this industry to grow and succeed."
Hart conducted the poll on behalf of the Solar Energy Industries Association. The polling firm says the results have a margin of error of ± 2.8%.