February 10, 2021

Nearly Two-Thirds of Respondents Say Electric Bills Are Already Too High &
84% of New Yorkers Support Use of Natural Gas

New York voters overwhelmingly say cost and keeping the lights are the most important energy issues to them right now. That’s the finding of a recent survey of likely voters in New York State by the polling group Cygnal, commissioned by the New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Coalition, which found 92 percent of likely voters say low-cost energy and reliable electricity are top energy concerns. (View Polling Presentation here)

The survey of 700 likely New York voters had a margin of error of +/- 3.7 percent. Data was collected statewide, with a heavier focus on the downstate population centers, 65 percent, residing in the New York City region, 19 percent from Central/Eastern New York, and 17 percent from the Western part of the state. (View Polling Toplines here)

“The results of this survey do highlight the need for a pragmatic approach to our transitioning energy grid in New York, and that includes consideration of the things most important to New Yorkers, like cost and maintaining system reliability.” Executive Director and spokesperson for the New Yorkers for Affordable Energy Coalition Michelle Hook explained. “Environmental Justice issues are extremely important. As we seek to improve our air, we cannot forget that, and now empirical evidence clearly shows, there needs to be an economic justice component to any future energy plan.”

“As New Yorkers continue to grapple with the impacts of the coronavirus pandemic, they want their electricity to be affordable and reliable – our economic and remote working and learning circumstances demand it. The results of this survey further affirm the importance of minimizing the burden on consumers as we develop our roadmap for decarbonization,” said Gavin Donohue, President and CEO of the Independent Power Producers of New York. “Meeting our shared climate goals is critical, but we can’t do it at the expense of New Yorkers who have already had to sacrifice for nearly a year.”

“The economic impact of the pandemic, and heighted concerns about New York’s economic competitiveness, put a spotlight on the need to move forward carefully on the state’s carbon reduction agenda,” said Heather C. Briccetti, Esq., President and CEO of The Business Council of New York State, Inc. “As businesses continue to work with the Climate Action Council, we have also called for research on future energy costs and its impact on businesses and jobs. We support carbon reduction and expanded renewables, but the state’s economy also needs affordable, reliable power and gas during the transition.”

The poll also asked New Yorkers’ to rank their top priorities for the State. Jobs and the economy were by far the top priority with 47 percent of respondents saying that was the most important issue. Affordable healthcare and lowering taxes also ranked in the top three highest priorities for New York residents.

Another key finding is that most New Yorkers support natural gas projects in the state. Before any additional information about natural gas was shared with participants, more than 50 percent say they support gas projects. When data was analyzed at the demographic level, the survey found that only 20 percent of self-identified liberals are opposed to natural gas projects. Similarly, only 27 percent believe New York should not allow companies to invest in natural gas infrastructure. The majority of participants, 64 percent, also believe labor protections should be required for all energy development projects. This was especially true for black respondents and those age 35 to 49.

New York State Building Trades President Gary LaBarbera said, “New Yorkers believe prevailing wage and other labor protections are a valuable part of our State’s development projects. Add to that the importance state residents currently place on the economy, jobs and low-cost natural gas, and the path forward is clear: New York must allow natural gas upgrade projects to create jobs, cleaner air, and low-cost energy.”

About New Yorkers for Affordable Energy
New Yorkers for Affordable Energy is a coalition of community, labor and business leaders from across the state who support efforts to expand access to natural gas for consumers and businesses. Community, labor and business leaders from across the state understand the important role that natural gas plays as a catalyst for job growth. As demand for energy continues to grow, natural gas is becoming increasingly important for New York consumers and businesses. New Yorkers for Affordable Energy supports increasing access to natural gas for manufacturing facilities, power production, transportation, and other purposes to support New York’s economy and quality of life. For more information, visit our website at http://www.NY4affordableenergy.com.

ABOUT THE POLLING FIRM: Cygnal is an award-winning national public opinion and predictive analytics firm that pioneered multi-mode polling, peer-to-peer text collection, and Political Emotive Analysis. Cygnal was named the #1 most accurate polling and research firm in the country for 2018 by The New York Times. Its team members have worked in 47 states and countries on more than 1,500 corporate, public affairs, and political campaigns.