With the energy problems that have plagued California expected to impact other western states, it’s interesting to see how the average American views the situation.

According to a poll conducted by Newsweek, 53 percent of Americans surveyed agree that a national energy crisis exists. In addition, 52 percent say developing new sources of energy is a more important priority than protecting the environment.

Although many agree on the problem, they disagree on how to solve it. Fifty-one percent of those surveyed said the priority for U.S. energy policy should be to increase energy conservation and with regulations on energy use and prices. However, 42 percent said the priority should be to expand exploration, mining and drilling and the construction of power plants.

The phone survey was conducted May 3 – 4 and has a margin of error plus or minus of 3 percentage points.