A new poll of Texas voters shows that the vast majority are concerned about future power grid failures, still largely blame utility companies for the damaging blackouts in 2021, and continue to want more emphasis on renewable energy moving forward.
Nearly a year after Winter Storm Uri, seven in 10 Texas voters (70%) are worried about a future grid failure due to a severe winter storm. Nearly 4 in 5 voters (78%) hold electric utility companies responsible “for the crisis during the severe winter storms,” slightly up from the 72% who held the same view in March 2021. Further, 80% feel that energy companies should be “most responsible for paying to strengthen Texas’ electric grid,” similar to the 77% of Texas voters who stated this in the 2021 poll. Also, a majority of voters connect the severe winter storm to climate change, with nearly two-thirds (64%) saying that climate change had an effect on these storms.
“Texans recognize that climate change is already creating havoc in their lives, and they want their electric utility companies to step up and do more to prepare for these problems,” said Dr. Edward Maibach, director of the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication.
Across many questions, Texas voters continue to show strong support for renewable energy. Given the choice, a majority (55%) of Texas voters say they would prefer their energy provider use “renewable energy like wind and solar,” compared to 4% who choose coal and 24% natural gas. Similarly, nearly 6 in 10 (59%) say “developing more renewable energy sources” is the “most important priority for addressing Texas’ energy needs,” compared to additional sources of natural gas or nuclear energy (21% and 9% respectively).
A majority of Texans believe the transition to clean energy will boost the economy. About six in 10 (61%) of Texans say that a “transition to 100% clean, renewable energy like wind and solar by 2035” would have a positive impact on Texas’ economy. More specifically, a plurality of 48% of voters believe “increasing domestic production of renewable energy such as wind and solar” will create more “good jobs” for Texans than increased production of fossil fuels (up from 41% the previous year).
“A majority of Texans prioritize developing more clean, renewable energy over fossil fuels or nuclear energy. They also say that developing clean energy will improve Texas’ economy and create more jobs,” said Dr. Anthony Leiserowitz, director of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication.
Texas voters also support increased government action on climate change-related issues: 80% of voters think the EPA should strengthen air quality standards and shut down at least some coal plants. Additionally, close to three-quarters (71%) of Texans want their state government to apply for infrastructure funding available via the $1.2 trillion federal infrastructure bill passed in November 2021.
Looking towards the November general election, Republican candidates have the edge in both the congressional and gubernatorial races in Texas. Nearly half (48%) of likely voters say that if the election for Congress in their district were held today, they would vote for the Republican, while 41% would vote for the Democrat, and 3% would vote for neither candidate or for another candidate. And when likely voters were asked how they would vote in a hypothetical gubernatorial matchup between Greg Abbott (R) and Beto O’Rourke (D), Abbott enjoys a five point advantage over O’Rourke (45%-40%).
The representative survey of 933 registered Texas voters was conducted February 1-9, 2022, by Nexus Polling, in partnership with the Yale Program on Climate Change Communication and the George Mason University Center for Climate Change Communication. It has a margin of error of +/- 3.3% at the 95% confidence level.