Pages Menu
TwitterRssFacebook
Categories Menu

Posted by on Jul 25, 2008 in Politics | 27 comments

McCain’s Energy Policy Gains Traction in COPM

Despite the perceived dire climate for Republicans nationally, I continue to watch the COPM (Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Michigan) states for an indicator of how the general election will play out. While the media focuses on the various stops of the Obama team across Europe, John McCain continues to hammer on energy policy and the economy in some of these states, and the message seems to be sinking in.

The four polls conducted by Quinnipiac University in partnership with the Wall Street Journal and washingtonpost.com show that McCain is running slightly ahead of Obama in Colorado, is close in Minnesota and has narrowed the gap in Michigan and Wisconsin.

In Colorado, McCain was ahead 46% to 44%. Obama led in Michigan, 46% to 42%; by 46% to 44% in Minnesota and by 50% to 39% in Wisconsin, according to the four state polls posted on the university website.

And what is the issue which seems to be resonating? Yet again, the answer is energy.

The issue that seems to have helped McCain in the polls released today was his support of offshore drilling for oil. As gasoline prices have risen sharply, other polls have shown that Americans are more likely to support offshore drilling, especially if they are in states where drilling isn’t likely.

Voters in the four states support offshore drilling by margins of 22 to 31 percentage points. The polls also show that the voters in the four states would support drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge by a range of seven to 12 percentage points.

Energy policy ranked as the most important issue, eclipsing the war in Iraq, which has garnered most of the attention this week because of Obama’s trip.

People keep reminding us that this election is Obama’s to win if he can only reach out and grab it. The flip side, of course, is that the election is also Obama’s to lose, and if he keeps up this resistance to exploring every possible solution to our future energy situation, he may do just that. I have held numerous, extensive discussions in this space with readers on the subject of energy, and much good information has been offered on both sides. Today, no matter how you feel about the drilling question, I consider the political ramifications.

We see McCain gaining ground, largely on the energy issue, in Colorado and Michigan. Now he is taking the same message to Ohio. Later this morning, I’ll be taking part in a conference call with the McCain team on energy and will update you with any new information.

UPDATE: Ed Morrissey notes this morning that it’s not just the presidential candidates. Congress is struggling with this issue also, and the Democratic leadership can’t seem to allow a vote on the subject to come to the floor.

Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2008 The Moderate Voice
  • christoofar

    “other polls have shown that Americans are more likely to support offshore drilling, especially if they are in states where drilling isn’t likely.”
    Pretty much sums it up ,NIMN….sigh…

  • Neocon

    If the Unions in Michigan realize that Barak Obama’s energy policy consists of “WALKING TO WORK” Which will translate in them all losing their nice well paying jobs, then he will lose Michigan too as all those big 3 will be out of a job.

    So look for Barak Obama to stick to his guns about Walking to work but to come up with a bail out of the big 3 costing 100 billion more to our debt, instead of just allowing drilling and bringing the prices down at the pump.

    Colorado are all pretty liberal out here but we also have long drives to work and not much if any Mass Transit. there is a lot of animosity here about Obama’s 2050 is the year it will all be better energy policy.

    Look for Barak Obama to start hitting the economy hard when he gets back and his idea as with all Liberal ideas is to legislate, regulate and pour money into it. Tax the rich and give it back to the poor, run up a 600 billion dollar a year deficit and blame the GOP for the next several years for huge deficits.

  • elrod

    The political problem is that Obama has not hit back on McCain’s bogus energy “plan.” Fortunately, Obama can use McCain’s own words against him.

    TV ad:

    McCain: “Offshore drilling is a gimmick and won’t reduce gas prices at all because it won’t find anything for at least 10 years.”

    McCain: “We need offshore drilling to reduce gas prices.”

    Announcer: “McCain, typical Washington politician, is pushing a plan that he knows won’t work. How about an honest energy plan that will reduce gas prices?

    Crack down on oil speculators. Demand that oil companies explore the 72% of land they already own but have not yet explored. Invest in refinery capacity to bring that oil to market. Invest in long-term alternative fuels, which will drive down the price of gas and make us less dependent on foreign oil.

  • elrod

    Obama’s whole policy is not to tell people to walk to work. I walk to work because I can. But I do it for exercise purposes and not to save gas. I guess Obama doesn’t want to lose the lazy fat vote.

    The problem with the drilling argument is that the oil companies already own tons of land that they won’t explore or drill. They say that refinery costs are too high, not that there isn’t enough land to explore. This is a political gimmick, not a real solution to lower gas prices.

  • Christoofar, I think that line you quote from the article doesn’t really work that well as a generalization when you consider florida. (Not criticizing your take on it.. just the comment from the article’s author.) It is most certainly in their own back yard and they now poll better than two thirds in favor of off shore drilling and McCain has moved into a slight lead there.

  • Jazz
    I really can’t believe you are falling for the drill more and everything will be fine meme. What are the major reasons gasoline prices have gone up?
    1. Oil hasn’t gone up as much as the dollar has gone down. The dollar has gone down because the Bush administration is borrowing 20 B dollars a month to finance the occupation of Iraq so it won’t have to raise taxes on the rich – John McCain would continue that policy.
    2. Instability in the mid east because of the same occupation of Iraq and never ending threat directed at Iran – once again, John McCain would continue that policy.

    • mikkel

      Well not to speak for Jazz but he hasn’t said that.

      1. “Oil hasn’t gone up as much as the dollar has gone down.”

      This is not true anymore. While prices have quadrupled here (gas prices…of course oil has gone up 6x), they have just less than doubled in Euro countries…most of it in the last nine months.

      2. There was a report that “predicted” oil would only be at $40 without the war. Who knows, but it definitely is a lot greater contributor than any domestic drilling we’re not doing.

      Elrod: I personally think that Obama is saving all that stuff until after the nomination and then will just have a flood of ads where McCain has slipped the noose around his own neck.

  • Perhaps I didn’t word that well. Much of the increase in oil prices in the US is the result of devaluation of the dollar for the reasons stated above. The dollar is worth less so oil costs more. And there is speculation – the result of McCain advisor Phil Gramms efforts to deregulate the energy market. Money has been flowing from real estate speculation to oil speculation as a result of the housing bust.

    • mikkel

      Yes I agree that the inflow of money has a lot to do with it. Ironically, it is literally the only thing that is preventing us from having “official” negative growth. Once again the Onion is way too spot on.

  • If the Unions in Michigan realize that Barak Obama’s energy policy consists of “WALKING TO WORK”

    Awww…. running out of true things to say these days, Neocon?

  • Neocon

    Chris

    You just reinforce my point that Obama has nothing. Nothing to address the oil crunch and energy prices at the pump. So until you can come up with something to debate then calling me a liar is not helping your cause and is focusing more attention to what I say.

    He has nothing. The democrats WILL NOT DRILL. So what…………..give tax breaks to buy gasoline till 2015? Run up an even larger DEBT? Why don’t we just merge with China and let them run our country? Pretty soon they will own it all anyways.

  • DLS

    Energy is where McCain is clearly superior and a welcome _antidote_ to Obama. (“No drilling” is for fools and for troublemakers who want Americans to suffer in the medium to long term. Obama introduces the concern of environmental political nonsense when it comes to regulation of industry — “global warming” fad-based nonsense — while exploiting the naive, unrealistic dreams of youth insofar as alternative energy and transportation issues have always been concerned.) Energy alone — where we who know better simply expect sane decision-making — is not large enough of an issue for McCain to “ride” into the White House, and the McCain campaign doesn’t seem to do well at exploiting things.

    The unions in Michigan probably want a president Obama to bail out their companies, exactly the wrong, worst thing that ever should be contemplated.

    McCain flirted with global warming and alternative energy and transportation when he gave a speech at the GM Tech Center recently here in Detroit metro, in Warren. It was broadcast on local radio and there was nearly _zero_ response to McCain’s appeal to union members and left-leaning audience members about plans for the future. Why would these people vote for someone acting merely as a Dem Lite when they can vote for the real thing (and even get a bailout and perpetuate their obsolete model and standard of living, or engineer a lavish quasi-CEO-style buyout program for the superfluous rank and file)?

  • DLS

    The main cost driver, according to T. Boone Pickens, is demand. Now Pickens lately has been advertising his own scheme; he is far from being only someone doing what he is doing and saying what he is saying out of nothing but the mere goodness of his heart. But I believe he’s correct. It also is being echoed by the CEO of at least one oil company who was interviewed recently. China and India are naturally on everyone’s minds. (And the worst places, southwest Asia, sub-Saharan Africa, the Magreb, they all have the right to develop and modernize and drive automobiles, too.)

  • DLS

    “_zero_ response” [to McCain’s speech]

    No laughter at his jokes. No applause following any of his major lines or pauses, except for pathetically soft applause _once_. Otherwise, no response (i.e., no warm reception) at all.

  • DLS

    A reasonable compromise: Open all 100 top oil and gas fields to development, rather than all fields everywhere (which is also reasonable, but no compromise).

    http://www.eia.doe.gov/oil_gas/rpd/topfields.pdf

    Demanding no additional openings at all is acting against the US’s interests.

  • Ricorun

    There’s reality and then there’s politics. The politics are clear, the reality isn’t always. McCain claims that lifting the federal moratorium on offshore drilling will reduce the price of oil. While that sounds reasonable, most serious experts disagree. The world consumes something like 85 million bbls/day. Even if it were possible to extract 2 million bbls/day 10-15 years from now (which is itself wildly optimistic), it’s a drop in the bucket even if production costs were low (which isn’t likely either). And since oil is traded on the world market, it’s very hard to understand how it will have an effect, and certainly not now. One has to assume “psychological” factors — namely that just saying we will drill more will cool speculation. But that is also very questionable. There are too many other factors involved.

    Obama claims that lifting the federal moratorium will delay our transition away from oil. I don’t see how that figures, either. If it doesn’t affect price the motivation will still be there. It’s not an either/or kind of thing. In the mean time though, any increase in domestic production will help to reduce the trade deficit, increase revenue, and add jobs.

    There are other aspects to both candidate’s energy plans of course. But the drilling issue is the one that is providing McCain some traction. So that’s the one Obama (and Dems in general) have to address. I think it may be hard, because the “drill here, drill now, pay less” argument has considerable emotional appeal, even if it’s not accurate.

  • DLS

    You have it right, Ricorun. The reason to drill here at home is out of principle — it’s the right thing to do, simply; it’s there, and it’s ours, and we should develop and use it. There is no delay of our transition away from oil; THERE ARE NO SERIOUS PRACTICAL, ECONOMIC ALTERNATIVES TO OIL FOR TRANSPORTATION FUELS TODAY. (Converting coal to synthetic transportation fuels and supplementing these for petroleum-based fuels is the obvious near-term way to address the problem directly and sensibly. Some biomass-based alternative fuels may work someday; butanol has energy density comparable to gasoline and is useable in place of gasoline without equipment change needs, meaning it is a practical substitute, and this also should be pursued if the cost can be reduced in the future.) The amounts we get, in the time it takes to get those amounts of oil, aren’t going to have a large effect on oil consumption and on oil prices.

    All Obama has to say is that he is willing to consider some new drilling “where it makes sense” (taking care in his usual way not to explain the meaning of that phrase) and it’s behind him. The Dems in Congress should be the same way.

  • pacatrue

    Hi Ricorun, I always find your comments on energy policy informative. I did have one disagreement. You said, “Obama claims that lifting the federal moratorium will delay our transition away from oil. I don’t see how that figures, either. If it doesn’t affect price the motivation will still be there. It’s not an either/or kind of thing.”

    I agree that this is true as far as reality/energy policy goes. They aren’t either/or. But as far as politics goes, they really might be. There are many powerful people dead set against a move in the next few decades to alternative energies. It’s very likely that the only way for them to come on board is by making a deal. You vote for solar thermal in the Mojave and I’ll vote for oil platforms off Florida. If you give up the drilling now, they will simply sit or say no on the alternatives for a while again.

  • Neocon

    IF nothing is going to replace OIL in the next 10-20 years then why not drill now?

    Its not going to get any better tomorrow, next week or next year. Electric cars even if they all come on line today they can only produce mabey 100k this year this year…..1 more million next year……..not enough to do anything other then make electricity go up.

  • Ricorun

    DLS: All Obama has to say is that he is willing to consider some new drilling “where it makes sense” (taking care in his usual way not to explain the meaning of that phrase) and it’s behind him. The Dems in Congress should be the same way.

    I tend to agree. And if he adds, “as long as the affected states have the final say”, I think he could seriously deflate whatever momentum McCain has.

  • DLS

    Oh,

    “as long as the affected states have the final say”

    Obama would be hailed as a genius by a media that “rediscovered federalism,” the same media ignoring that same position already expressed by McCain, who does not count in the media’s eyes (because he’s not their darling this year).

    (McCain said this when he visited the GM Tech Center in Warren Michigan.)

    Although it has been reported at least once …

    http://thecaucus.blogs.nytimes.com/2008/06/16/mccain-let-states-decide-on-offshore-drilling/

  • DLS

    “IF nothing is going to replace OIL in the next 10-20 years then why not drill now?”

    And don’t forget coal, of which we have much, much, much. Converting coal to gasoline and diesel fuel and other fuels is the logical short-to-medium-term thing that should be first on any rational agenda. Not only are the fuels cleaner (which reduces air pollution) but it buys time to pursue alternatives.

  • runasim

    Whether or not McCain’s energy policy gains traction is not related to the memt of his policy. People vote for very bad policies and for bad politicians.
    McCain is s playing a political game backed by those powerful forces resisting change for the sake of their pocket books.

    This goes beyoind anyone’s energy policy. It’s a question of our economic structure and how energy fits inot it. McCain’s bandaids don’t address that except as they revert to the conservative policies of the past.
    The future is a new day, and the rut we’ve been in requires an urgent overahul.

    I don’t doubt that this can be a political advantage for McCain. I’m convinced his victory woudl be a loss for our energy future.

  • Ricorun

    picatrue: I agree that this is true as far as reality/energy policy goes. They aren’t either/or. But as far as politics goes, they really might be. There are many powerful people dead set against a move in the next few decades to alternative energies. It’s very likely that the only way for them to come on board is by making a deal.

    I absolutely, positively agree. And the Dems should push that deal as hard as they possibly can. You mention one side of the politics involved — those that are dead-set against a move to alternative energies. You can see it in some of the comments here — the belief that alternative energies are largely still just toys. That is not true. Wind is exploding. There are almost 150 applications already in the pipeling for new solar plants. Nevada is planning a major expansion in their geothermal production. This stuff is not just toys. Granted, solar (either thermal or PV), and geothermal are not as “proven” as, say, nuclear. But I would say that’s a good thing, not a bad thing. Wind and geothermal are already more than competitive in price with nuclear, and solar is rapidly getting there. And in no case are there any major technical hurdles left to cross. It’s all a matter of refinement. And in that regard, there is every reason to believe that those refinements will come fast. Moreover, the amount of potential there is, well, breathtaking. All of those technologies have considerable potential to get bigger (utility scale) AND smaller (rooftop/backyard scale) — and enhance their efficiencies many times over in both directions. And there is so much money in it! It kinda makes me weep that my more conservative friends can’t seem to see that. IMO, we need to jump on this hard, because to the victors go the spoils. Sure it’s going to take some investment. But the potential payoff is enormous.

    I am firmly convinced of that potential. However, I cannot prove it. How can you ever “prove” anything if you don’t build it? In fact, that goes for new nuclear plant designs, too. And yet there are some that are all gung-ho about the latter while virtually ignoring the former. So that’s one side of the political debate.

    On the other side are those that believe enhancing domestic drilling is the greatest evil since Satan was driven from heaven. And IMO, that’s ridiculous too. I hear arguments to the effect, “it makes no sense to cure our oil addiction by feeding it”. It’s a compelling metaphore but it’s wrong. The fact is; (a) curing our oil addiction will take time; (b) in and of itself, enhancing our domestic supply will have essentially no effect on either prices OR our addiction to oil. We can always get our fix elsewhere — and the price of that fix is almost certainly to be modulated by factors beyond our control; (c) not withstanding (b), enhancing domestic supply cannot help but have a direct impact on the trade deficit, energy security, tax revenues, and jobs; (d) if you agree with the argument that more domestic drilling will not appreciably affect the price of oil, it also stands to reason that it won’t delay the transition to something else. So in short, by “allowing” domestic drilling in a responsible way, we are not really feeding our addiction. Rather, we are helping to cure other things that ail us without having any impact at all on our addiction. That’s how I see it anyway.

  • DLS

    “And in no case are there any major technical hurdles left to cross. It’s all a matter of refinement. And in that regard, there is every reason to believe that those refinements will come fast.”

    Experience tells us they won’t necessarily come fast (a “drastic overhaul” of our current energy supplies and uses is impossible), but experiences with wind shows that the refinements can come, and where it’s a matter of refinement, it can be a fully private endeavor but at the same time it becomes more attractive than ever as the object of government expenditure on research and development.

    Wind energy obviously is not just at the toy stage any longer. Evil Bird Killers [tm] like Chris who are wind fans can even gloat. It’s no substitute yet for most of our electricity production needs (“just over 1% of U.S. electricity supply”), but it is nothing like it was in the 1980s or the 1990s.

    http://www1.eere.energy.gov/windandhydro/pdfs/43025.pdf

    http://www.awea.org/pubs/factsheets/2008_Market_Update.pdf

    http://www.awea.org/AWEA_Annual_Rankings_Report.pdf

    Where else to put it?

    http://rredc.nrel.gov/wind/pubs/atlas/

    All renewables (western USA)

    http://www.energyatlas.org/

  • DLS

    “curing our oil addiction will take time”

    It’s not just that. While we require petroleum for transportation fuels, petroleum is the base stock for so much of the chemical (and petrochemical) industry. In fact, while there is no current alternative, so it is done, it is a shame the stuff is simply burned rather than used for those other uses. Those other uses also justify the drilling.

  • Ricorun

    DLS: And don’t forget coal, of which we have much, much, much. Converting coal to gasoline and diesel fuel and other fuels is the logical short-to-medium-term thing that should be first on any rational agenda. Not only are the fuels cleaner (which reduces air pollution) but it buys time to pursue alternatives.

    I disagree. It may be the case that the end products (i.e., the fuels) are somewhat cleaner, but the entire process is not. Think about it… how could it be? Short of employing carbon capture and storage (which doesn’t exist on a commercial scale), that makes no sense. Even in terms of “traditional” pollutants (i.e, non GHG crud like heavy metals, complex organics, sulfur compounds and the like), we’re better off burning coal in a power plant and charging batteries.

    That’s one thing. The other thing is that the more coal is tied to liquid fuel production the more the price will be as well. Look at tar sand development — that uses lots of natural gas, and natural gas prices are now heavily influenced by oil prices. Look at corn and bioethanol, too. Both processes require lots of water, too, but that’s another rant.

    Speaking of coal… the amount of surface area devoted to coal strip mining (which was mostly deciduous forest before they started stripping it) is already larger than the amount of surface area required to power our entire national grid with solar thermal (assuming no improvements in existing technology). Likewise, the tar sand mines in Alberta has denuded an area of arboreal forest nearly the size of the state of Florida (again, larger than the surface area required to power our entire national grid with solar thermal) — not to mention generating highly toxic tailing ponds large enough to be seen from space. And no one has yet to figure out how to deal with them.

    Having said that, I can’t stress enough that systems approaches are absolutely essential. The stakes are very high, and because they are we are susceptible to making huge mistakes unless the entire “life cycles” of various alternatives are fully analyzed. We’re in a real fix here, and there’s no easy way out as far as I can tell. In fact, I would say that energy is the challenge of our time. And global warming concerns don’t make it any easier.

Twitter Auto Publish Powered By : XYZScripts.com