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New Polling Data Shows Strong Support for Public Power

New polling from Data for Progress finds that a strong majority of likely voters nationwide — 68% — support having a publicly owned utility as their local utility provider.

And support holds across party lines, with majority support among Democrats (71%), Independents (66%), and Republicans (67%), Data for Progress reported on Oct. 27.

“When voters read support and opposition messages contrasting public and private utilities, support for public utilities remains high, with no change in overall voter support for having a publicly owned utility provider,” Data for Progress reports.

Advocates of not-for-profit utilities highlight a range of potential benefits that these publicly owned providers can offer, the organization said.

Of potential outcomes from having a publicly owned utility, voters report having a say over the rates they pay for electricity (45%) is most appealing, reflecting the high salience of cost concerns, Data for Progress said.

“Beyond control over rates, voters are most excited about the potential for a publicly owned utility to serve the interests of their community, rather than private shareholders (34%), to address power outages or necessary grid upgrades quickly and efficiently (26%), to be made up of utility board members who represent their interests and concerns about energy (23%), and to have local representation to address concerns about home energy and utility services (22%).”

From October 20 to 21, 2023, Data for Progress conducted a survey of 1,222 likely voters nationally using web panel respondents. The sample was weighted to be representative of likely voters by age, gender, education, race, geography, and voting history. The survey was conducted in English. The margin of error is ±3 percentage points.

The group noted that Maine voters will head to the polls to decide whether to replace the state’s two private utilities — Central Maine Power and Versant Power — with a publicly owned utility, Pine Tree Power

Data for Progress describes itself as a progressive think tank and polling firm.

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