According to the most recent survey by Public Policy Polling, North Carolina voters who have been slammed by rising gas prices show overwhelming support for both a temporary suspension of the NC gas tax, as well as drilling for oil off the coast of NC. When asked about support for the suspension of the gas tax, 58% said they would show support, 29% said they would not, and 14% said they didn't know. Similarly, when asked about support for drilling off the coast of NC, 54% said they would support it, 26% said they would not, and 20% said they didn't know.
These numbers aren't necessarily surprising, considering the incredible strain rising gas prices has put on the public's wallet as well as the economy. It also seems fitting that when asked about whether voters thought offshore drilling would have an immediate effect on alleviating gas prices, it was split down the middle, with 41% saying yes, 41% saying no, and 17% saying they didn't know.
The energy crisis has proved to be a multi-faceted problem with experts proposing countless solutions, but it's hard to believe that any could provide immediate relief for drivers/energy consumers. Voters who support a gas tax holiday would propose that spending their savings on something over than gas would help stimulate the economy, but it seems as though many people would just do the opposite and buy more gas instead. There is also the recently-debated problem of speculation, which some argue could be alleviated by offshore drilling. Others simply argue that we can't fight the laws of supply and demand, with growing nations like India and China putting the strain on oil producers.
Regardless of the solution though, voters seem to be supporting an overall shift toward conservation. In this sense, the poll is encouraging, showing that 70% of voters say that the increase in gas prices has had a strong impact on their attempts to conserve energy, as well as 57% saying they would support an increase in renewable resources technology in the future.
Energy Policy and the Economy will surely be two of the most important issues coming into the election, with 70% and 82% of voters saying this, respectively, so it will be interesting to see how candidates assume or change their stances accordingly.
Post by Curtis Labban, PPP Summer Fellow
Full results here.