Castleton Poll Examines Vermonters' Views on Wind Power

After a great deal of public debate, Vermonters continue to support the idea of building wind turbines along the state’s ridgelines according to a recent poll of the general population conducted by the Castleton Polling Institute at Castleton. The poll finds 66 percent of Vermonters supporting wind turbines along ridgelines. Castleton conducted a similar poll of registered voters in May 2012 for WCAX/WDEV/Vermont Business Magazine and found that 69 percent of respondents expressed support for the development of wind energy turbines on the state’s ridgelines.

Unlike many controversial issues, the data do not show any significant differences in attitudes by party affiliation, gender, or income.  There is a modest difference based on age, with older Vermonters less likely to support building on ridgelines than are younger Vermonters.  Yet older Vermonters are only slightly more likely to oppose the building of wind turbines, as they are also more likely to offer no opinion on the issue. 

Figure 1

To measure the possibility that Vermonters would be less likely to support building wind turbines in their community than they are to support it generally, Vermonters were asked if they would favor or oppose the development of a wind farm in their community. Sixty-nine percent say that they would favor it in their community.  Again, there are small differences based on party, gender, or income, and the differences found by age still remain. 

When asked whether or not the state government should subsidize the development of alternative energy generation, about two-thirds of all respondents (66 percent) said that it should.  Respondents were split over this issue along party lines, with 77 percent of Democrats, 67 percent of Independents, and only 49 percent of Republicans in favor of the government subsidizing alternative energy. 

These data are based on 620 completed interviews, 130 of which were respondents reached by cell phone.  The interviews were conducted between February 6 and February 17, 2013.  For a sample of this size, the margin of error at the 95 percent confidence level is +/-3.9 percent, although the margin of error is larger for questions involving subsamples of respondents.  While sampling error is only one source of potential survey error, precautions have been taken to minimize other sources of error for this poll.  The final data are weighted by age and gender to adjust for differences in response and to reflect the state’s demographics on these criteria. 

For more information about this poll or any of the work of the Castleton Polling Institute, please contact:
The Institute's Director
Rich Clark at (802) 468-1306

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