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BOSTON, MA.//August 15, 2007//Will creating and putting in place clean energy solutions to the global warming crisis and America's addiction to foreign oil spark a new "Massachusetts Miracle?" In a major new statewide survey, solid majorities of Massachusetts residents - including Democrats, Republicans, Independents and those who live on the Cape and on the Islands -- said they want the Bay State to emerge as a national leader in alternative energy, including wind power projects such as Cape Wind. The new Opinion Research Corporation (ORC) poll for the Newton-based Civil Society Institute also looks at the attitudes of state residents about coal-fired power plants, nuclear power, and the federal vehicle fuel-efficiency standards that Massachusetts Rep. Ed Markey is now shepherding through Congress.
The scientific survey by ORC of 600 state residents found that nine out of 10 Massachusetts residents (93 percent) -- including 78 percent of those who live on the Cape and on the Islands -- agree that the state should be "a national leader in using cleaner and renewable energy on a large scale by moving ahead with offshore wind power" and other clean energy initiatives. The statement is supported on a bipartisan basis by Republicans (94 percent), Democrats (93 percent), and Independents (93 percent).
More than four out of five Massachusetts residents (84 percent) -- including 58 percent of those who live on the Cape and on the Islands -- explicitly support "the proposed Cape Wind offshore wind farm that would involve wind turbines being placed in Nantucket Sound about five and a half miles from the Town of Hyannis." These numbers are virtually unchanged from a June 2006 Civil Society Institute (CSI) survey that posed the same question and found 81 percent support statewide and 61 percent in Cape Cod/the Islands (the latter of which is within the survey's margin of error). Republican support for Cape Wind is at 82 percent, Democrats at 86 percent and Independents at 81 percent.
Another key finding: Almost nine out of 10 Massachusetts residents (88 percent) think that Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick should follow the lead of California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger "when it comes to state government leadership on global warming solutions and the promotion of clean, renewable energy." About two out of three state residents (65 percent) expressed strong support for such an approach and only 9 percent said no. Support for this leadership role being taken by Governor Patrick was strongly supported across the political spectrum: Republicans (82 percent); Democrats (93 percent); and Independents (80 percent).
Civil Society Institute President and Founder Pam Solo said: "I would encourage Governor Patrick, Senator Kennedy, Senator Kerry, Representative Markey and the rest of the Massachusetts congressional delegation to look closely at these survey findings. The notion that wind power and the other clean energy sources are dividing lines in Massachusetts either in terms of politics or region … or both … is an entirely mistaken and counterproductive idea. Instead, what we see in this survey is a clear example of Massachusetts citizens 'leading the leaders.' State residents want action now on clean, safe renewable energy sources, including Cape Wind, and also higher federal fuel-efficiency standards for vehicles. They want the state to get out in front as a true national leader solving the threats posed by global warming and our addiction to foreign oil."
Opinion Research Corporation Senior Researcher Graham Hueber said: "One of the most striking aspects of this survey is the clear sense that state residents have of a potential 'Massachusetts Miracle' if their leaders decide to take a front-and-center role on clean energy solutions to global warming. It is very telling that a very strong 91 percent of state residents see a parallel to the Route 128 tech boom of the 1980s and now want the state to emulate California 'in seeking to create new jobs and industries by becoming a national hub for new energy technology development.'"
Commenting on the survey, Barbara Hill, executive director, Clean Power Now, Hyannis, MA., said: "This past spring Governor Patrick and his administration took an historic step forward by determining the Cape Wind Project's Final Environmental Impact Report (FEIR) as adequate, moving us closer to realizing significant public benefits such as improved air quality, energy reliability and economic growth. The development of this project as proposed will advance the Commonwealth's energy policy goals and help make Massachusetts a world leader in the development and production of clean energy."
KEY SURVEY FINDINGS
For full survey findings, go to http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org on the Web.
Survey results are based on telephone interviews conducted among a sample of 600 adults aged 18 and over living in private households in the Massachusetts. Interviewing was completed by Opinion Research Corporation during the period of July 25-August 2, 2007. Completed interviews of the survey adults were weighted by two variables: age and gender, to ensure reliable and accurate representation of the total adult population, including a subset of residents of the Cape/Islands. About nine out of 10 respondents (89 percent) said that they live in Massachusetts somewhere other than the Cape and on the Islands versus 10 percent who said that they do live on the Cape/Islands. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points for the complete sample of 600 adults. Smaller sub-groups will have larger error margins.
The nonprofit and nonpartisan Civil Society Institute (http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org) is a Newton, MA.-based think tank that serves as a catalyst for change by creating problem-solving interactions among people, and between communities, government and business that can help to improve society. CSI has conducted more than 15 major national and state-level surveys since 2003 on energy and global warming issues. CSI is the parent organization of 40MPG.org (http://www.40MPG.org) and the Hybrid Owners of America (http://www.HybridOwnersofAmerica.org).
CONTACT: Patrick Mitchell, (703) 276-3266 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
EDITOR'S NOTE: A streaming audio replay of the news event will be available on the Web at http://www.CivilSocietyInstitute.org as of 6 p.m. EDT on August 15, 2007. Related newspaper and radio ads also are available at the same URL.