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Kansans’ Opposition to Coal Plant: Look at the Poll

We’ve been told that Kansas public opinion is against the building of a coal-fired power plant in western Kansas. See the press release at Kansans Support Denial of Coal Plants, Want Wind Power for New Electricity.

I would encourage you to view the questions that appeared on the poll cited in the press release. Here’s one, where people were asked which statement comes closer to their point of view:

Statement A: Now more than ever we need to commit to alternative energy sources such as electric power generated by wind. We have the technology, if we only have the political will to invest sufficiently in it.

Statement B: Wind energy is a nice idea, but it is ultimately insufficient to meet much of our energy needs. And placing huge wind turbines all over our beautiful rural landscapes is hardly the path to sound environmental stewardship. We need to focus our efforts on more practical sources of energy.

Do you consider these two questions to be loaded, in that they use imagery designed to generate a certain response? Statement A refers to “political will,” something that most people are in favor of. Who doesn’t want more “political will?” Besides, what we need is private investment in electricity generation, not political investment.

Statement B implies that “huge wind turbines” spoil our “beautiful rural landscapes” in Kansas and is poor “stewardship.” Powerful words, aren’t they?

In my opinion, this question is designed to produce agreement biased towards statement A. It could not be more blatant.

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