By Walter Brooks
In a statewide poll of Massachusetts voters by the Opinion Dynamics Corporation of Cambridge which was commissioned by Cape Wind Associates of Yarmouth, respondents in favor of the project outnumbered those opposed by a ratio of better than three to one.
Over 400 Massachusetts residents were polled. More surprising was the fact that 65% of state residents were aware of the project. The memorandum from the researchers is below, but in a nutshell, 47% support the wind farm, 13% oppose it and 39% remain undecided.
The greatest support for the wind farm came from men aged 46-64, the better-educated and the higher-income voters, home-owners and residents of the Boston suburbs. The biggest reasons given were "it's a good idea" and "clean and environmentally-friendly".
Those most opposed came from the southern part of Massachusetts where most of the negative paid advertising ran. These respondents reasons to be opposed were "it's an eyesore" or "it will hurt the environment".
Romney Supporters back project by a 53% to 12% margin
In an amusing adjunct to the survey it was revealed that a race for the governor's office between Mitt Romney and Tom Reilly is a head heat at 39% to 38%.
The amusement comes with the Revelation that Romney's likely voters support Cape Wind by better than four to one and Reilly support it by better than three to one, 47% to 13%.
Evan a mediocre pol should be able to see the advantage in supporting something a vast majority of his potential voters support.
The summery report to Cape Wind from the Cambridge researchers is copied below in its entirety. Further information can be had by contacting either Mark Rodgers of Cape Wind at (508) 375-9594 or John Gorman, President, Opinion Dynamics Corporation, 617-492-1400.
MEMORANDUM January 25, 2005
TO: Cape Wind Associates
FR: Opinion Dynamics Corporation
RE: Analysis of survey results
This memo will summarize the results from a survey conducted by ODC for Cape Wind Associates. The survey was conducted among a 400-member sample of voters in Massachusetts. The margin of error for the full 400-member sample is Â±4.9 percent at the mid-range of the 95% confidence interval. The interviewing period for this survey was between January 14 and January 18, 2005.
The Bottom Line
The results from this survey indicate that a near majority of voters in Massachusetts (47%) support the proposed Cape Wind project. This becomes all the more impressive considering that statewide awareness of Cape Wind’s project stands at nearly two-thirds of all voters (65%). Statewide opposition to the Cape Wind project is just 13%, with almost four voters in ten (39%) remaining undecided. Thus, among those willing to take a position on the project, it is supported by a hefty 3.6-to-1 margin. Moreover, when asked to gauge their position by means of a 5-point intensity scale (“1” representing “strongly oppose” and “5” representing “strongly favor”), strong support outpaces strong opposition by a similar 3-to-1 margin (27% versus 9%). Support for the project is most likely to come from men, those aged 46-64, better-educated and higher-income voters, home-owners and residents of the Boston suburbs. Opponents are more likely to be residents of the southern portion of the state-where most of the negative paid advertising opposing the project has been running for the past two years.
When asked to name specific reasons for their support or opposition, those favoring the Cape Wind project tend to cite the notion that it is a general “good idea” (22%) or that it is “clean and environmentally-friendly” (21%). Other reasons cite reduced dependency on foreign oil, the fact that wind power is inexpensive, and the general support for renewable sources. Opponents are more likely to mention the belief that the project will be an “eyesore”, that it will “hurt” the environment, and that is in a bad location.
Another positive sign in support of the Cape Wind project is the fact that wind (at 27%) is virtually tied with natural gas (at 29%) as the preferred source of electricity to meet the state’s needs. In fact, the next highest preferred source-oil (at 13%)-garners less than half the support that wind energy does.
We also asked voters to tell us who they would support in a hypothetical 2006 Gubernatorial Election. We found that the race is a statistical dead heat-with Governor Romney garnering a total of 39% of the vote and Attorney General Reilly getting 38%. About one-quarter of all voters (23%) remain undecided. Supporters of the Attorney General tend to be aged 46-64, and residents of the Boston area. Supporters of Governor Romney are most likely to come from among people over the age of 65, people with “some college” background, home-owners and residents of the northern portion of the state. When we look at cross-tabulations of the data, we find that supporters of Attorney General Reilly support the Cape Wind project by exactly the same proportion as voters overall-47%-13%. Supporters of Governor Romney support the project by a 53%-12% margin.