The citizens of the United States generally oppose new energy developments, yet the public does not want to go without cheap, plentiful energy. This book explores the intricate relationship between public opinion and energy issues. Using the state of California as a model, Eric Smith addresses such questions as: What roles do ideology and other values play in influencing opinions on energy issues? How much does the public understand about energy issues? Who favours further oil development or the expansion of nuclear power? How have people's opinions changed over time and how are they likely to change in the future? Are people guided by self-interest or other motives? This book explores how much the public understands about energy policy, what the public wants officials to do about America's energy problems and how governments at various levels are likely to come to grips with energy shortages in the future.
Eric R.A.N. Smith is associate professor of political science at the University of California in Santa Barbara.