The disastrous oil spill
still spreading through the Gulf of Mexico has
endangered the Gulf ecology
, raised serious questions about offshore
drilling oversight, and hindered the Senate's climate change
legislation. But it's also had a big effect on public opinion on
offshore drilling, which President Obama had earlier pledged to expand.
What exactly that effect is and what it means is up for debate.
Favor Offshore Drilling Even More Public Policy Polling's Tom Jensen calls it an
"astounding" number: "28% of Republicans said the recent oil spill in
the Gulf of Mexico made them more likely to support drilling off
the coast to an equal 28% who said it made them less likely to be
- 9% Think Environmentalists Caused Spill The
Raw Story's John Byrne's jaw drops.
"Ten percent of Americans believe environmentalists intentionally
sabotaged the oil rig Deepwater Horizon off the Gulf Coast ...
Conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh floated the idea on his nationally
syndicated talk show." In addition, 22% are "unsure" about the
conspiracy theory, with 69% believing it to be false.
Support for Increasing Offshore Drilling A CBS News poll reports 46%
want increased offshore drilling, down from 62% in August 2008.
According to the more recent poll, 63% of Republicans want more offshore
drilling, compared to 34% of Democrats and 45% of Independents.
Drilling Opponents Must Make Case Daily Kos' Jed Lewison interprets the
above poll, "BP's oil spill has convinced roughly one in five Americans
that the cost of extracting oil from offshore drilling -- in terms of
environmental and economic devastation -- is much higher than they had
previously believed. Nonetheless, a plurality continues to support more
offshore drilling, likely because they overestimate the benefits of
doing so. Therefore, it's important to underscore that even in the best
case scenario, an expansion of offshore drilling will hardly make a dent
in satisfying our energy needs."
- Proves Climate Change
Bill Should Pass The Washington Post's Greg Sargent sees "More proof
Dems should keep banging the energy drum: A
new CBS News poll finds that the Gulf spill has caused a massive
drop in support for offshore drilling, underscoring yet again how absurd
it is that it has made energy reform less likely to pass the
- Floridians Turn Against Offshore Drilling Think
Progress' Zaid Jilani writes, "in the wake of the oil disaster, 55 percent
of Floridians now oppose offshore oil drilling, a complete reversal from
polling conducted last year."
- Decreased Faith in Federal Government
Politics Daily's Bruce Drake points out why
Democrats might not have such good political news in the oil spill.
"Support for offshore drilling has dropped in the wake of the Deepwater
Horizon oil spill and a majority of Americans give negative marks to the
federal government and BP, the company that leased the rig, for their
response to the environmental disaster." 33% call the government's
response excellent or good; 54% say only fair or poor. "Those negative
marks were comparable to the public's dim view of the federal government
response to Katrina in 2005 when 58 percent rated it poor or only
- How Bloggers Poll Conservative blogger David Kopel notes, "The latest
National Journal poll of political bloggers asked: 'With the Gulf
of Mexico oil spill, does it make political sense for President Obama to
stick to his plans to allow increased oil and gas development along the
coasts?' Only 6% of the Left, but 75% of the Right thought that it did
still make political sense."
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