January 30, 2015

A look at energy favorability, how New Mexicans consume news

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Photo by Margaret Wright

New Mexico Political Report will talk to Garrity each week about his firm’s perception survey, highlighting some of the interesting findings.

Two of the interesting questions Garrity spoke about this week were on the favorability of two energy industries in the state, one that has been a major player in politics and the state’s economy and the other that is a newcomer and is less established.

When it comes to the oil and gas industry, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the industry has a generally favorable view among Republicans while Democrats are less enamored with the industry. Independents have the lowest total favorability of the industry. However, all three groups have seen the favorability of the industry grow in the last four years.

Solar and wind power are more popular in the state, largely driven by massive popularity among Democrats. Solar and win power favorability has increased 13 percent in the last four years among Democrats. Meanwhile, the renewable sources’ favorability fell 9 percent among independents and 4 percent among Republicans.

The popularity of solar and wind among New Mexico residents as a whole is still above 60 percent. For oil and gas, it is below 50 percent.

“If you’re looking for an energy wedge issue, it’s oil and gas for the Republicans and solar and wind for the Democrats,” Garrity said.

You can see that by some of the legislation introduced this year in the legislative session. Oil and gas legislation is usually introduced by Republican members of the legislature, while solar and wind legislation is usually introduced by Democrats.

Garrity PR also looks at the favorability and usage of different news mediums.

While TV is “the big dog,” Garrity said that it has “definitely seen some slip.”

“Over the last four years, it’s only seen a five percent drop,” Garrity said.

So while TV is still far and away the top, where are they turning?

“People are still turning to television, but they’re turning to digital and social more,” he said. New Mexico Political Report, of course, is an online-only outlet.

When it comes to internet news sites — which could include newspaper, TV station and radio websites to some who responded — 64 percent of independents say they use them a lot or somewhat, while 51 percent of Democrats and Republicans say the same thing.

For social media, the numbers are lower, with 44 percent of independents indicating regular or frequent use and 41 percent of Democrats and Republicans.

Something else The Garrity Group released this week was an early look at the #nmleg hashtag on Twitter.

Garrity said they “wanted to gauge really on the impact that Twitter had on the legislative process.”

Right now, they could only gauge volume. They found that tweets with the hashtag reached nearly 7.5 million people.

The report was highlighted in the Santa Fe New Mexican.

The use of the hashtag peaked at the start of the legislative session, which also has the highest amount of media coverage (as this reporter can tell you from past legislative sessions).

When it comes to the accounts that have used the hashtag the most, Garrity said that @AFTNM — the American Federation of Teachers in New Mexico — led the way, followed by @NMSenate — Senate Democrats — and @fbihop — this reporter.

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