June 19th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Majority of Americans favor oil drilling in off-limits areas

Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain favor ending the federal ban on off-shore oil drilling.
Pres. Bush and Sen. McCain favor ending the federal ban on off-shore oil drilling.

(CNN) – A new Gallup poll suggests more than half of the country may support a proposal backed by President Bush and Sen. John McCain to allow states to authorize off-shore oil drilling, a practice currently banned by the federal government.

Fifty-seven percent of Americans favor allowing oil drilling in coastal and wilderness areas that are currently off-limits. Forty-one percent of Americans oppose allowing drilling in those areas, and 2 percent have no opinion.

The poll also reveals a partisan divide on the issue. Eighty percent of Republicans surveyed favored opening up off-limits areas to oil exploration and 56 percent of independents favored allowing the practice. But 59 percent of Democrats opposed the idea.

During the last week, the prospect of oil drilling off the U.S. coast has become into a major policy dispute between Sens. John McCain and Barack Obama, respectively the presumptive Republican and Democratic nominees, and between Democrats and Republicans on Capitol Hill.

The Gallup survey involved telephone interviews nationally with 1,013 adults aged 18 and older and was conducted May 19-21. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points.


Filed under: Candidate Barack Obama • John McCain • Polls • President Bush
soundoff (159 Responses)
  1. Enlightened Voter

    I bet very few were from California, florida or Alaska. BTW Arnold Schwarzenagger opposes it BIG TIME and came out and said so and he is a repub.

    June 19, 2008 06:00 pm at 6:00 pm |
  2. Janey

    Drill here! Drill now! The Saudis are laughing at us. The world thinks we are crazy–what is wrong with those democrats? Only thing I can figure is that they are so rich they do not care about the rest of us. Power is a strange thing. Like they care about the Caribou! Give me a break! I t is all about power and making history.

    June 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  3. Todd, DE

    I think we shoud drill in areas that don't matter. But I also think we shouldn't beg anybody, like the Saudis for oil. We're Americans, and George Bush is a fool.

    Tick tock already, when is he leaving. Put an asterick by his name because he was not a real president. He was a phony and a fake who did whatever Cheney and Rove told him to do. He is a moron and I will never forgive him for trashing our country.

    Why do you think the country is in the toilet. Because there's no one minding the store. I'm still waiting for the GOP to apologize for George's fake administration.

    June 19, 2008 06:04 pm at 6:04 pm |
  4. Michael in Seattle

    This si my problem...
    I own roylties in oil down in Texas (yes Bush country) I have not recieved a royalty check all year cause they have a federal order not to pump oil from those wells. Why do we need to drill more wells off shore that may indanger wildlife when all we have to do is start pupming oil from the wells we have...can someone answer this for me...I would be more than happy to hear an answer.

    Than you,

    June 19, 2008 06:07 pm at 6:07 pm |
  5. GG

    I'm sure the majority of them don't live on the costs where they will be drilling. Everyone should take a trip to the Gulf Coast along the shores of AL, Miss. and TX. Go to the beach at night and you'll see a city of lights off the coast. It horrible, it looks like the picture shown in this post times 20.

    Again the public is being misled by Bush and his Oil buddies. Americans haven't you learned yet. Bush doesn’t give two turds about you just his money and rich friends.

    June 19, 2008 06:08 pm at 6:08 pm |
  6. Pat Riot

    There you go CNN bloggers. Your beloved polls tell no lies.

    June 19, 2008 06:09 pm at 6:09 pm |
  7. J.C.

    One can only object oil drilling IF they do not use a car, AC or gas guzzling machinery.

    June 19, 2008 06:10 pm at 6:10 pm |
  8. Joe Six

    Who cares what the majority of Americans think? Certainly not the majority of Democrats.

    June 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  9. LaShanda

    Unfortunately, many Americans are uninformed. We won't see a drop of oil for another 5-10 years. It's up to Sen. Obama, the Dems, and independent groups to explain to people that this will NOT lower gas prices. It's like putting a band aid over a gunshot wound.

    June 19, 2008 06:12 pm at 6:12 pm |
  10. ???

    Where was this poll taken, Nebraska? I bet if they ask Californians and Floridians, you know, the people that are actually affected by this, they'd have an entirely different set of results.

    June 19, 2008 06:13 pm at 6:13 pm |
  11. Mikel

    We narcissistic Americans need to wean ourselves from the gas pump and start growing up. Our use of fossil fuels is not sustainable and it's way beyond time to face that immutable fact.

    The big oil companies are not going to save us from our fate, even though they'd love us to believe that. What we need to is not look for more and more places to drill but to look for alternative energy sources and to CONSERVE!

    June 19, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  12. Seth in Jacksonville, FL

    That's because the people being polled:

    1. Don't live near the areas that will be affected
    2. Are ignorant and think this will help them now (it won't have any effect for at least 5-6 years)
    3. Think that the answer to the problem is more oil, not using what we have more efficiently.

    I hope it gets turned down. Let's focus on solar, wind, and hydrogen. No more SUVs, force automakers to produce vehicles that get 40+ mpg, and start putting restrictions on plastic goods like shopping bags.

    June 19, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  13. Val

    That's great news.

    Sen. McCain surely you will make a fine President. America is very proud of you.

    Together We Can! United We Will!

    McCain 08! McCain All The Way!

    June 19, 2008 06:15 pm at 6:15 pm |
  14. R.I.F.

    The poll asked specifically "if drilling would reduce gas prices whould you be okay" . The porblem is that it won't in the next few years and it's not a guaranty that it will then. On top of that, there's estimated to only be a 2-4 year supply offshore. If the poll actually broke all that down then I'm sure the favorabilty rating would be much lower. This is when a poll is no good.

    June 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  15. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    "We simply must balance our demand for energy with our rapidly shrinking resources. By acting now, we can control our future instead of letting the future control us." Carter bluntly pointed out that: "The most important thing about these proposals is that the alternative may be a national catastrophe. Further delay can affect our strength and our power as a nation." He called the new energy policy he was proposing, "[T]he 'moral equivalent of war' - except that we will be uniting our efforts to build and not destroy."

    June 19, 2008 06:16 pm at 6:16 pm |
  16. Mlozano

    Most Americans are not aware that the oil would be sold on the international market as opposed to being used here in America which would further enrich these oil compnies. Plus the amount of oil drilled for would not make a difference in price at the pumps once refined into gasoline. why doesn't CNN do responsible journalism by clarifying what will really happen to the oil if we open up off shore drilling?

    June 19, 2008 06:17 pm at 6:17 pm |
  17. Kim

    The flip flop master, McBush has always been against the driling. But of course now that he can grab some votes. The desperate old man is all for it. And as usual he is in lock step with Bush. This is nothing new. McFlop changed his stance on the Bush tax cuts for the big Corporations to grab their financial support too. He is so shallow.

    June 19, 2008 06:18 pm at 6:18 pm |
  18. Capt. Smash, Salt Lake City, Utah

    "The world has not prepared for the future," said Jimmy Carter. "During the 1950s, people used twice as much oil as during the 1940s. During the 1960s, we used twice as much as during the 1950s. And in each of those decades, more oil was consumed than in all of mankind's previous history." Hubbert said we must begin to conserve. Carter agreed.

    "Ours is the most wasteful nation on earth," he said, a point that is still true. "We waste more energy than we import. With about the same standard of living, we use twice as much energy per person as do other countries like Germany, Japan and Sweden." Carter directly challenged the fossil fuel and automobile industries. "One choice," he said, "is to continue doing what we have been doing before. We can drift along for a few more years. "Our consumption of oil would keep going up every year. Our cars would continue to be too large and inefficient.

    Three-quarters of them would continue to carry only one person - the driver - while our public transportation system continues to decline. We can delay insulating our houses, and they will continue to lose about 50 percent of their heat in waste. "We can continue using scarce oil and natural gas to generate electricity, and continue wasting two-thirds of their fuel value in the process."

    June 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  19. Tori

    Uck No! I live in California and we have nice beautiful ocean while paying the most for gas. The problem is NOT SUPPLY! IT IS DEMAND and the fact is no matter how much you have the demand is going to be more.

    June 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  20. Dedrick from Atlanta (in Portland)

    WHO was polled? Certainly not I. Why drill more when we aren't using all of the land that has already been leased fand proven or oil drilling? When not use our great AMERICAN brains and find a better, cleaner, more cost effecient way to produce energy? How about the new VOLVO solution using electric motors and a tiny gasoline engine that is used to re-charge the hydrogen fuel cell? Get smart people. Not to mention that more drilling will not help for at least 10 years? By that time, if we are smart we may only need a fraction of the oil we currently use.

    June 19, 2008 06:19 pm at 6:19 pm |
  21. BK

    It will lower the price of gas. The Saudi's want us to depend on them. The rest of the world is laughing at us because we have the resources and don't use it. We pay and the money goes to terrorist organizations to use against us. We can use that money right here in the US. Even if it takes five years its better than doing nothing. It will also create jobs.

    June 19, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  22. JIM...TX

    I'm all for it:) So it takes 10 years to see any results. We need to start taking care of ourselves now an not be so dependent on the Arab's who by the way were mostly responsible for 9-11. In the meantime we can continue to conserve and explore other alternative energy measures. It's time we moved all our eggs from that one energy basket......

    June 19, 2008 06:20 pm at 6:20 pm |
  23. liz

    Hmmmmmm.... gas prices go up, polls show support for drilling. When will U.S. citizens begin to understand that we are being manipulated. Not that it matters what we think, the powers that be have already decided to drill and drill they will.

    June 19, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  24. Vote for Change

    those that support the idea of drilling are either not form California, Florida or Alaska OR not informed about the problems resulted of drilling.

    June 19, 2008 06:23 pm at 6:23 pm |
  25. Sam

    We need a clean environment or eventually we will have Nothing!
    Stop with the now attitude and think of the future.

    June 19, 2008 06:24 pm at 6:24 pm |
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