New Study: GOP donors install as much solar as Dems

A surprising new report from Yale showing that as many Republican donors install solar as Democratic donors.

Many Americans support the greater use of renewable energy. Prior research has found that public support is motivated primarily by the perception that renewable energy reduces environmental harms (e.g., global warming, pollution) and creates economic benefits (e.g., cost savings, more jobs). However, different people are motivated to support renewable energy for different reasons.

Many Americans support the greater use of renewable energy. Prior research has found that public support is motivated primarily by the perception that renewable energy reduces environmental harms (e.g., global warming, pollution) and creates economic benefits (e.g., cost savings, more jobs). However, different people are motivated to support renewable energy for different reasons.

This study finds that Democrats, more than Republicans, support renewable energy as a solution for global warming. In contrast, Republicans, more than Democrats, support renewable energy for economic reasons.

A few highlights from the study include:

The Pew Research Center asked U.S. adults in April if they favored expanding wind and solar energy and measured an abrupt drop since 2020:

Among Republicans and Republican-leaning independents, support for increasing reliance on solar power is down from 84% last year to 73%. All the while support for more wind power dropped from 75% in 2020 to 62%. Around nine-in-ten Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents continue to support expanding solar (93%) and wind power (91%).

The partisan gaps on expanding solar (20 percentage points) and wind power (29 points) are now larger than at any point. I mean since the Center started asking about these energy sources in 2016.

– In mature solar markets like CA and HI, R and D install solar at equal rates
  • In nascent markets, Democrats have a slightly higher installation rates than Republicans.

However, as Yale reported, these findings do not imply that Republicans only care about economics when considering renewable energy. Likewise, it is not the case that Democrats only care about global warming.

Rather, our findings indicate a pattern of relative importance of economic considerations. For it plays a relatively more important role among Republicans than among Democrats.  However, global warming concerns play a relatively more important role among Democrats than among Republicans.

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