Newsnight: Eastern Europe in clutches of Russia over gas

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The findings — derived from recent polling of a nationally representative sample of 10,282 US adults — were published by experts at the Pew Research Center in Washington D.C. The researchers said: “In response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, European countries, including Germany and Italy, have announced plans to phase out oil and gas exports from Russia – the largest supplier of energy to Europe. The Biden administration has pledged to increase natural gas exports to the European Union, though a large increase in natural gas exports could face challenges, including production timelines and existing pipeline and export terminal capabilities.”

While logistics may present potential hurdles, it would seem that the proposal to increase gas exports will not face partisan opposition.

The results of the survey indicated that 70 percent of habitual Republican voters and Republican-leaning independents were in favour of the Biden administration proposal.

The plan was also broadly supported by Democrats and Democrat learners, albeit with a smaller majority of just 55 percent.

In fact, only 37 percent of respondents overall said they opposed expanding natural gas production for export to European nations.

The survey results, the researchers said, also “underscore how potential impacts on domestic prices are front-of-mind for large shares of Americans.”

More than two-thirds of respondents (67 percent) said that, when it came to exporting large amounts of natural gas to Europe, the potential impacts on gas prices in the US should be a major consideration.

This concern was shared both by those in favour of and against the proposed exports.

In fact, the team added, “Americans rank prices as a major consideration ahead of other factors, including the impacts on climate change and the Russian economy.”

Perhaps unsurprisingly, potential climate impacts weighed more heavily on Democrats than Republicans, with 73 percent of the former saying such should be a major consideration compared with just 24 percent of the latter.

When it comes to domestic energy production, the American public’s priorities appear to have been largely unaffected by the recent instability in global energy markets that has resulted from the war in Ukraine and rising oil and gas prices.

The majority of US adults — 67 percent — want to see the development of alternative energy sources like solar and wind power to be prioritised.

In contrast, barely half as many favour expanding the production of oil, coal and natural gas to meet domestic demand.

These views, the team said, remain essentially the same as they were back in the January of this year.

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The researchers added: “When asked about specific sources of energy individually, Americans continue to express the broadest support for expanding wind and solar energy production.”

Overall, they explained, 86 percent of Americans favour the construction of more solar farms, while 79 percent favour the building of wind turbines instead.

A slight majority of US adults — at 54 percent — appear to favour the construction of more nuclear power plants, while 44 percent of respondents were in opposition to this.

And while the numbers of Americans in favour of offshore drilling and hydraulic fracturing are up from this time last year, they remain in the minority at 48 and 45 percent respectively.

The full findings of the study were published on the Pew Research Center website.

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