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April 17, 2014

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Find the pollster (UPDATED)

Update (This blog was initially posted Monday, Jan. 14):

John Keeley, media relations manager for the Nuclear Energy Institute, said Tuesday that his group has not polled since the last presidential election. Back then they wanted to gauge Nevadans’ feelings on nuclear because of Kerry’s opposition to Yucca Mountain. But they’re not behind this latest poll.

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Reader challenge: Find the pollster.

Turns out national pollsters care what Nevadans think about the future of America's energy supply. Or at least they want to manipulate what we think about that future into some nifty statistics to release pre-caucus.

A pollster with a charming southern drawl called enviro Scot Rutledge, executive director of the Nevada Conservation League, last week from a national research firm to ask whether environmental regulations have hampered the economy and whether coal and nuclear are the best options to reach energy independence. The pollster, who reached Rutledge at his office after 5 p.m., also asked whether coal, natural gas or nuclear is the best way to meet the nation's energy demands. No mention of renewable energy or conservation.

It was a classic push poll, Rutledge said.

"Americans are faced with making serious choices about our energy future (and this poll was) certainly underhanded, the way they posed these questions," he said Monday.

And although Rutledge was quick to call on Nevada Power and parent company Sierra Pacific Resources to denounce the poll, the company said today they were not involved.

The astute reader might easily assume that this poll was the brainchild of Americans for Balanced Energy Choices, a coal lobby group that has been advertising hard in Nevada during the run up to Saturday's caucus. A call to R&R Partners, the group's PR and advertising firm here, quickly cleared that up. Ron Kalb, with R&R, agreed that it was a natural assumption, but said ABEC was not behind the poll. They'd love to see the results, though. The next logical choice would be the Nuclear Energy Institute, a Washington policy organization. A call to NEI this afternoon was not immediately returned, but check back for updates.

Now the challenge goes to you, intrepid readers. Have you been polled? Who is doing this most fascinating of polls, and for whom?

Although it's doubtful we need a poll to figure out what most Nevadans think about nuclear energy.

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