Chart of the Day: The Solyndra Effect

Reporting on Politics and Policy.
Dec. 8 2011 3:33 PM

Chart of the Day: The Solyndra Effect

The Solyndra scandal is still churning, and -- assuming we know most of what will be known -- it will reach an end when we determine whether or not the Obama administration intervened to get the company to delay layoff announcements. But most of the scandal has already occured, and most of its effect should already be felt. "Solyndra," the story, isn't just about one company. Listen to the GOP candidates for president. "Solyndra" is a one-word summary of the idea that the government should not invest in "green" tech that can't survive on its own.

Has it worked? I missed this at the time, but a month ago Pew asked voters whether or not they were souring on the idea of government funding green/alternative tech. The result of months of Solyndra stories: An overall 12-point dip in support for these grants. It went from a 74-21 positive image to a 68-26 image. Start at the beginning of the Obama presidency, and it had declined by 25 points. Only... well, look at the partisan breakdown.

The drop-off in support is largely a function of dropped-off Republican support. At the start of the Obama years, Democrats and Republicans were both pretty high on alternative energy grants -- 85 percent of Democrats and 82 percent of Republicans liked them. A year into Obama, Democrats were more warm on green energy grants by a 24-point margin. And after Solyndra, the margin is up to 30 points. Early conclusion: Solyndra has convinced around half of Republicans that green energy is a scam, but they've made only inchward progress with everybody else. In the aggregate, it's a small win for enviro-skeptics. Two years ago, if you were a green lobbyist, you probably couldn't interest your local congressman in massive carbon taxes. But! You could sell him on this great idea for green energy grants. Post-Solyndra, the second slide in your powerpoint, about how tossing some money to solar companies will benefit everybody -- it isn't such an obvious win.

David Weigel is a reporter for Bloomberg Politics

TODAY IN SLATE

Politics

The Democrats’ War at Home

How can the president’s party defend itself from the president’s foreign policy blunders?

Congress’ Public Shaming of the Secret Service Was Political Grandstanding at Its Best

Michigan’s Tradition of Football “Toughness” Needs to Go—Starting With Coach Hoke

A Plentiful, Renewable Resource That America Keeps Overlooking

Animal manure.

Windows 8 Was So Bad That Microsoft Will Skip Straight to Windows 10

Politics

Cringing. Ducking. Mumbling.

How GOP candidates react whenever someone brings up reproductive rights or gay marriage.

Building a Better Workplace

You Deserve a Pre-cation

The smartest job perk you’ve never heard of.

Hasbro Is Cracking Down on Scrabble Players Who Turn Its Official Word List Into Popular Apps

The Ludicrous Claims You’ll Hear at This Company’s “Egg Freezing Parties”

  News & Politics
Politics
Sept. 30 2014 9:33 PM Political Theater With a Purpose Darrell Issa’s public shaming of the head of the Secret Service was congressional grandstanding at its best.
  Business
Moneybox
Oct. 1 2014 8:34 AM Going Private To undertake a massively ambitious energy project, you don’t need the government anymore.
  Life
The Vault
Oct. 1 2014 10:49 AM James Meredith, Determined to Enroll at Ole Miss, Declares His Purpose in a 1961 Letter
  Double X
The XX Factor
Sept. 30 2014 12:34 PM Parents, Get Your Teenage Daughters the IUD
  Slate Plus
Behind the Scenes
Oct. 1 2014 10:54 AM “I Need a Pair of Pants That Won’t Bore Me to Death” Troy Patterson talks about looking sharp, flat-top fades, and being Slate’s Gentleman Scholar.
  Arts
Brow Beat
Oct. 1 2014 10:44 AM Everyone’s Favorite Bob’s Burgers Character Gets a Remix You Can Dance to
  Technology
Future Tense
Oct. 1 2014 10:27 AM 3,000 French Scientists Are Marching to Demand More Research Funding
  Health & Science
Bad Astronomy
Oct. 1 2014 7:30 AM Say Hello to Our Quasi-Moon, 2014 OL339
  Sports
Sports Nut
Sept. 30 2014 5:54 PM Goodbye, Tough Guy It’s time for Michigan to fire its toughness-obsessed coach, Brady Hoke.