A new Badger Poll survey shows Republicans and Democrats split on issues of government involvement in biofuel production.
While a majority of Democrats support the use of government subsidies for biofuels research, less than 40 percent of Republicans agree. A majority of Republicans say the free market should regulate biofuels, while Democrats favor greater government involvement.
The two parties do not connect biofuels to other issues in the same way. More than two thirds of Democrats, and only about half of Republicans, believe biofuels can help the U.S. maintain global leadership in science and technology. While less than 40 percent of Democrats worry about an increase in food prices due to biofuels, about half of Republicans are concerned about this result.
Despite these differences, both parties believe that the oil industry will not invest in biofuel development without government pressure.
The survey also assessed biofuel knowledge with nine true-or-false questions. More than three-fourths of respondents knew that biofuels are not only made of food crops and that most of Wisconsin's gasoline contains ethanol.
A majority of respondents did not know that Wisconsin biofuels producers used about half of the state's corn yield in 2008. Most respondents did not know how much of U.S. energy is created by fossil fuels each year.
Conducted in collaboration with the UW-Madison Survey Center, this Badger Poll surveyed 600 Wisconsin adults between April and June.