Think that America's energy problems and high gas prices aren't changing perceptions among independents, even among liberals? Think again. According to a new Pew survey, as many liberals (45%) as conservatives (48%) now believe that energy exploration - including mining and drilling, as well as the construction of new power plants - is a more important priority for energy policy than increased conservation and regulation. Among liberals, it's an unheard of 23 point shift in preferences since just February of this year and as depicted at left, there's been a 15 point shift among moderates.

With the huge change in public perceptions on energy, it's no surprise that last week the Republican National Committee ran its very first independent expenditure ad touting the "balanced" approach of McCain in "standing up to his party" to back energy conservation and exploration while Obama has "Said No" to nuclear energy and off-shore production.