02 March 2006

Changing petrol price politics? Americans would support petrol tax?

One of Tom Friedman's NYT columns appeared in the Straits Times today (sorry subscribers only). In "Green is the new color of patriotism" he argues that even Americans would support higher petrol taxes if political leaders framed it the right way.
... confirmed by the latest New York Times/CBS News poll: Americans not only know that our oil addiction is really bad for us, but they would be willing to accept a petrol tax if some leader would just frame the stakes for the country the right way.
Here is Friedman on the result of that poll:

when asked simply whether they'd favour a petrol tax, 85 per cent said no and only 12 per cent said yes. But when the petrol tax was framed as part of a national strategy to achieve energy security and climate security, pollsters got a very different answer. When the tax was presented as reducing US dependence on foreign oil, 55 per cent favoured it and 37 per cent said no.

And when asked about a petrol tax that would help reduce global warming, even more respondents supported it - with 59 per cent in favour and 34 per cent opposed.

And that is without a single Democrat or Republican leading on this issue! Imagine if someone actually led?

The United States is not the only place where the politics of petrol prices is changing. It is changing in Southeast Asia too, for different reasons.

More on this soon.

1 comment:

Larry said...

Actually, the reporting of the poll has been very misleading.

For instance, the question about the $2 tax came AFTER all the other questions. So we don't know how they would have responded to the questions if a specific amount had been mention. A $2/gallon tax increase here would cost every politician, who had anything to do with it, his/her job.

The question about global warming was a compound question:

69. What if the increased tax on gasoline would cut down on energy consumption and reduce
global warming, ...

So we don't know if the response was yes for to cut down on energy consumption and thus related to the previous question of reducing dependence on foreign oil or global warming.

Add to all of that, the poll was heavily biased against republicans and you can see a pattern of deception and a lack of reliability of the poll itself.