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Winds of public support for offshore wind turbines shifting in New Jersey 

Credit:  By Phil Stilton | August 31, 2023 | shorenewsnetwork.com ~~

The shifting tides of public opinion on energy development are evident in New Jersey, according to a recent Monmouth University Poll. Support for offshore wind energy in the state has seen a noticeable decline compared to previous years. The poll indicates that 54% of New Jersey residents currently favor the development of offshore wind farms, down from 76% in 2019.

The decline is notably partisan. Republican support for wind energy plummeted from 69% to 28% over the last four years, while independent backing slipped from 77% to 52%. Democratic support has remained relatively stable, standing at 76% now compared to 79% in 2019.

Concerns over the potential impact on the state’s summer tourism economy contribute to this declining support. Four in 10 residents believe that offshore wind farms could harm tourism, a sentiment more prevalent among Republicans (56%) than among Democrats (24%).

Additionally, public opinion on the economic benefits of wind energy development is tepid. Only 22% of residents believe that the industry would generate a significant number of jobs. A majority (55%) anticipate a few new jobs, and 15% think no new jobs would be created.

Perception of wind energy’s impact on whale strandings on New Jersey beaches also influences public opinion. Close to half of respondents feel that wind energy development is likely contributing to the incidence of beached whales, a belief more common among Republicans (63%) than Democrats (26%). Those who see a link between wind energy and whale strandings are less likely to support wind energy development.

In light of declining support for wind energy, the poll also observed increasing favorability toward other energy options. Specifically, 41% of respondents support building a nuclear reactor, and 40% favor offshore drilling for oil or gas.

The findings suggest that public outreach and accurate information are crucial for the future of wind energy development in New Jersey, especially given the state’s ambitious goals for renewable energy. As Patrick Murray, director of the Monmouth University Polling Institute, observed, wind energy’s transition from a broadly supported, non-partisan issue to a more contentious one underscores the challenges ahead.

Source:  By Phil Stilton | August 31, 2023 | shorenewsnetwork.com

This article is the work of the source indicated. Any opinions expressed in it are not necessarily those of National Wind Watch.

The copyright of this article resides with the author or publisher indicated. As part of its noncommercial educational effort to present the environmental, social, scientific, and economic issues of large-scale wind power development to a global audience seeking such information, National Wind Watch endeavors to observe “fair use” as provided for in section 107 of U.S. Copyright Law and similar “fair dealing” provisions of the copyright laws of other nations. Send requests to excerpt, general inquiries, and comments via e-mail.

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