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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Uptick in Support for Energy Independence Gives Dems Wedge

Democrats now have an extraordinary opportunity to win the support of a large and rapidly-growing majority of Americans concerned about energy independence and global warming. Large majorities now favor strong action to address these crises, according to a strategy memo written by Al Quinlan, Stan Greenberg, and the Center for American Progress’s John Podesta.
The memo is based in part on a survey by Greenberg Quinlan Rosner for the Center for American Progress, conducted 3/19-22. Among the findings of the poll:

More than 3/4 of people believe the effects of global warming are already here.
Americans want immediate action on global warming – 60 percent believe that increasing pollution has set global warming into motion and “we must take action now or it will be too late to stop it.”
Unlike other issues before Congress and the President there is no strong partisan divide on stopping global warming.

Further, concern about energy and global warming “now rivals health care as the top domestic issue that requires immediate action.”
The strategy memo also drew from the findings of a GQR research report, noting that that 64 percent of Americans favored immediate action “to make our country less dependent on oil and move to cleaner, alternative energy sources” and 65 percent agreed that our energy policy “is seriously off on the wrong track.”
According to the strategy memo, the most compelling messages and themes to use when talking about these issues include:

Messaging must be inspirational and build off the strong belief that America can do anything once we make the commitment. Americans are ready for their leaders to summon the willpower to act now.
Freedom, independence and self sufficiency are the essence of what the public believes is our ultimate energy goal. When asked in focus groups, people cited independence and self sufficiency as the most important objectives in an energy plan.
We should take the offensive, not defensive, in the economic debate and advance a message that production of clean, alternative energy will help to restore America as a leader in the world economy, create future jobs, higher incomes and put us back in the forefront of world economic advancement.

Global warming, skyrocketing gas prices and the horrible mess in Iraq are all linked to our deepening addiction to oil. The American people clearly get it and want reforms to secure energy independence from imported oil in particular and to reduce our dependency on oil in general. Only one political party has the potential to provide the needed leadership — and the hour for action has now arrived.

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