Research Overview & Methodology
The initial research included two 12 focus groups conducted in the spring and summer of 2015 to explore attitudes toward climate change generally, as well as reactions to five different policy proposals. The first round of six focus groups included two each in Bangor, Portland, and Machias. In the second round of six focus groups, two each were held in Ellsworth, Portland, and Auburn. In all cases, the men and women were divided into separate groups to reflect the fact that men and women approach social issues in very different ways.
In 2016, the research continued with a specific goal of exploring attitudes toward efforts to promote energy efficiency in Maine. This research included both qualitative and quantitative approaches, and began with a four-day online bulletin board among 27 Maine voters (of mixed gender) conducted in December 2016. This online focus group was followed by an online survey conducted in February 2017 among a broader sample of 400 registered Maine voters. The online format allowed respondents to give quantitative and qualitative input on energy efficiency-related messaging and proposals.
Respondents in all research phases were engaged Maine voters who regularly follow news about politics and current events. To help capture a swing voter audience, respondents who identified as either “very liberal” or “very conservative” were excluded from the groups. Participants were also screened to include a mix of views on climate change, although those believing the earth is not warming were excluded.