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New API poll: Voters want candidates who support America’s energy renaissance

Jocelyn Rogers | 202.682.8114 |

Washington, D.C. June 21, 2016 – American voters are looking for energy leadership and would back a candidate who supports more oil and natural gas production, according to new survey by Harris Poll conducted on behalf of API.

“Broadly, the poll makes clear that when it comes to energy, what matters to most Americans is that they want and expect reliable and affordable energy,” said API President and CEO Jack Gerard. “During this election season we are backing our candidate ‘energy’ and the broad support by the American electorate for more oil and gas production.

“Today, our nation is the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. Led by industry innovation, not government mandates, the United States has become the global leader in reduced carbon and other emissions, which are near 20-year lows.

“This achievement, which we refer to as the U.S. model, serves as a real-world reminder that our nation can lead the world in energy production – lowering energy costs for consumers by hundreds of dollars a year – while leading the world in reduced carbon emissions.

“There are some critics who want our standard of living to be somewhere between an average Englishman and an average Ethiopian. Based on data from the World Bank, achieving that vision would require Americans to slash our electricity usage somewhere between 59 and 99.96 percent. This vision presents a false choice and starkly contrasts what the American voters want.”

The survey found that 69 percent of voters say they are more likely to support a candidate who supports producing more oil and natural gas and 73 percent of voters support a national energy policy that ensures a secure supply of abundant, affordable and available energy for the American people in an environmentally responsible manner (79 percent of Democrats and 67 percent of Republicans).

Other poll results:

  • Eighty percent of voters agree that increased access to domestic oil and natural gas resources could help lower energy costs for American consumers. This belief is bipartisan, with 75 percent of Democrats, 90 percent of Republicans and 81 percent of Independents agreeing. 

  • Seventy-three percent of voters believe that federal government regulations can contribute to increased costs for gasoline to consumers. Sixty-three percent of Democrats, 80 percent of Republicans and 78 percent of Independents agree.

  • Seventy-seven percent of voters support increased production of U.S. oil and natural gas resources.

  • Seventy-seven percent of voters think it is important that the U.S. is doing better than all of the other major economies when it comes to reducing greenhouse gas emissions, and 70 percent support natural gas’ role in this reduction.

  • Eighty-two percent of voters support increased development of the country’s energy infrastructure.

  • On the Renewable Fuel Standard, 77 percent of voters are concerned about government requirements that would increase the amount of ethanol in gasoline given the fact most auto manufacturers don’t warranty their vehicles against potential damages.

  • Seventy-one percent of voters oppose legislation that could increase the cost of oil and natural gas operations and thus potentially drive up energy costs to American consumers.

  • Sixty-four percent of voters oppose higher taxes that could decrease investment in energy production and reduce energy development.

API is the only national trade association representing all facets of the oil and natural gas industry, which supports 9.8 million U.S. jobs and 8 percent of the U.S. economy. API’s more than 650 members include large integrated companies, as well as exploration and production, refining, marketing, pipeline, and marine businesses, and service and supply firms. They provide most of the nation’s energy and are backed by a growing grassroots movement of more than 30 million Americans.


The study was conducted on May 10-15, 2016, by telephone by Harris Poll on behalf of the American Petroleum Institute among 1,001 registered voters across the U.S., with a sampling error of +/- 3 percent. A full methodology is available upon request.

"What America is Thinking on Energy Issues" is a public opinion series provided by API, offering data to inform policy discussions and ensure policymakers and others know Americans' perspectives on key energy issues.


What America is Thinking - Energy Platform (June 2016)

File Size: .5 MB

What America is Thinking - Platform Charts (June 2016)

File Size: 2 MB

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