June 19th, 2008
04:30 PM ET
7 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. Tony

    Sold on the world market?

    Answer me this....how much of the 42% of oil consumed by the US that is produced domestically is being sent over seas? Bubkus. Why would someone spend the $$$ in fuel to transport it to Europe when you could produce it here, refine it here, and sell it here? Answer? All of it.

    June 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  2. Mary

    It won't solve the problem and won't produce oil for years! There are already permits to drill on shore. why not use those? This is another ploy for oil companies to exploit us. Inside-loophole trading of oil shares is driving up the price-NOT availibity. This is big oil/Enron and GOP ripping us off. Don't fall for it! They are creating this crisis and counting on people being uniinformed .

    June 19, 2008 06:38 pm at 6:38 pm |
  3. Anonymous

    That would be the ones who don't live on or near any of the coasts no doubt. But then, why mention that if it would create some balance to the news? Not as sensational and dramatic if you include facts, right CNN? Truth in politics and reporting my you know what!

    June 19, 2008 06:40 pm at 6:40 pm |
  4. Anonymous2

    Why is it an ALL or NOTHING story. Option 1 – If we only open up the drilling we will just revert back to the way it was & not change our ways. Option 2 – Conservation isn’t the answer, who is going to convince 2 billion people (China & India) to stop using oil. We need to have a plan and compromise; open up some drilling for the next say 20 years knowing it will end. Then start funding other options, like a NASA project. If we care about our security then let’s stop funding the Middle East. I hate the fact that we cannot agree that we need to work together; it’s all or nothing.

    June 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  5. Chelita

    Hey "La Shanda"

    Get real! So what if it takes 5, 10 or 20 years. We definitely need to start somewhere - and soon!

    Obama explain to people? This guy can't even explain his constant flip-flopping...

    June 19, 2008 06:41 pm at 6:41 pm |
  6. Astoundedatstupidity

    The amazing part is people think that the moment we hit oil gas prices are gonna go down.

    1st: that oil hits the world market and may not even get to us
    2nd: It take 5 years or more to refine the stuff into gasoline
    3rd: it does nothing to help ween us off of oil. I wish conservatives would get their collective heads out of the sands and address the problem instead of trying to delay figuring out a solution.

    June 19, 2008 06:43 pm at 6:43 pm |
  7. Ken in Western NY

    Besides coming up with ways to effectively reduce the amount of fuel we consume, we have to also reduce our dependency on other countries for their oil. We have millions of square miles in northern Alaska that has hundreds of millions of barrels of oil, if not billions in reserve. Let's use a little bit of that land to help all of Americans. I think that the wildlife up there have plenty of room to get their food.

    June 19, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  8. After further review,Texas

    Just say the words "Nationalize big oil and regulate futures trading and you will see it drop fast.Bush and big oil are blackmailing us.Some folks just dont get it.

    June 19, 2008 06:45 pm at 6:45 pm |
  9. mkn

    so where is the poll that asks people if they think we should spend more money drilling for oil that won't benefit anybody (if it ever does)
    FOR YEARS. vs should we spend money on new sources of energy

    June 19, 2008 06:48 pm at 6:48 pm |
  10. MLH

    This poll is crap. The question didn't even take into account how long it will take to set up off-shore drilling, nor did it ask about the side effects of off-shore drilling and whether people were willing to risk that. Come on. Off shore drilling is not a solution for anyone.

    June 19, 2008 06:51 pm at 6:51 pm |
  11. Michael

    People need to understand that these oil companies already have Millions of acres of land that they are free to drill in already lets get the oil companies to use that land then maybe worry about the these other areas.

    June 19, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  12. Relevant

    Offshore drilling will increase domestic oil production by LESS THAN 1%, and we won't see the economic benefits of it for TEN YEARS!

    Plus as someone mentioned above, I didn't even know that there are oil wells in existence right now that are not being allowed to be pumped. WHY?

    Could it possibly be because BUSH wants to give a going-away present to his oil company buddies, in the same way he waged an illegal war in Iraq so that Halliburton could get the exclusive no-bid reconstruction contract?

    HOW MUCH LONGER WILL THIS EVIL MAN DUPE SO MANY AMERICANS!?

    No offshore drilling, no drilling in Alaska, no more oil addiction!!!

    June 19, 2008 06:52 pm at 6:52 pm |
  13. Former Republican

    Im in favor of drilling however we need something that will lower the cost of gas now. We can start drilling but we will not see that oil ready for the pumps till the year 2030 but the McCain is not telling that side of the story. So lets start drilling in the US in the mean while bring in the Windfall Tax for the Oil companies.

    June 19, 2008 06:53 pm at 6:53 pm |
  14. Rick FL

    It seems the oil companies and many of their GOP affiliates are trying to manipulate the American public again with their quest for power. The problem is not with available space for drilling. 68 MILLION acres are currently not being used. The problem is with the limited number of new refineries. I believe that type of investment and alternative sources of energy will help create long-term stability & reduce costs.

    June 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  15. Alex

    We have only one planet!!!! You can not continue to rape and pillage the environment all in the name of money, convenience, or gas guzzling SUV's....WAKE UP!!

    June 19, 2008 06:54 pm at 6:54 pm |
  16. Former Republican

    Let’s not forget the Bush family is in the oil business! People please make the connection.

    June 19, 2008 06:55 pm at 6:55 pm |
  17. TonyinKentucky

    Drilling may very well be a part of the mid-term energy mix but it MUST be tied to a few other things.

    1. Not allowing that oil to go into the global market, which would nearly negate the advantage.

    2. Increased cafe standards. Fuel efficiency must become an across the board focus.

    3. Investment in R&D for clean and renewable fuels.

    4. No new drilling to they uncap the wells already in place and/or already permitted.

    Otherwise, were just finding ways for big oil to rake in a few more billion and digging a deeper hole.

    June 19, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  18. Topher

    Most of the people that participated in this poll have probably never been to either coast. They don't care because they won't have to see it. Well, how would they feel with an oil rig in their backyard?

    June 19, 2008 06:57 pm at 6:57 pm |
  19. Loretta from California

    Not this one.....NO,NO,NO. We Californians will keep paying 4.59 per gallon, thank you very much. Our Coast are clean and beautiful. No we will not go for this.

    The Oil companies can continue to put pressure on us(charging Californians and Alaskans) the highest prices of all the States if they want to because we won't give in to them I would rather pay higher prices than see our oceans and beaches distroyed.

    June 19, 2008 06:58 pm at 6:58 pm |
  20. Loretta from California

    Not this one.....NO,NO,NO. We Californians will keep paying 4.59 per gallon, thank you very much. Our Coast are clean and beautiful. No we will not go for this.

    The Oil companies can continue to put pressure on us.......charging Californians and Alaskans the highest prices of all the States if they want to because we won't give in to them I would rather pay higher prices than see our oceans and beaches distroyed.

    June 19, 2008 06:59 pm at 6:59 pm |
  21. Bulldog

    How many of these posts on here are straight from the GOP. How many of the posts here haven't done any of there own research and are blindly believing everything they here from the GOP and Big Oil? Do your own research, many of these posters here and the politicians who try to make this is big game at the expense of the average American taxpayer cannot be trusted due to either ignorance or flat out lies. Big Oil loves the high prices of oil just like ENRON loved the high price of energy they ran up. Don't be another "ENRON" fool and do your research. These GOP politicians and Big Oil guys are counting on you to be naive and follow them at their word.

    June 19, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  22. Jenna

    Dear Bloggers:

    Contrary, gas will realistically be down to $1.00 a gallon, sounds good to me. I heard that we have more oil in the United States than the Arabic countries have. We dont need to be dependant on them, and we dont need to be sending our hard earned cash to them for gas either. I dont want to continue paying for their terrorism efforts.

    Democrat for McCain and low cost gas

    June 19, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  23. Sandy - PA

    Not me. Oil companies have been raking it in long enough. They don't need carte blanche to destroy the environment so they can make billions more.

    There is no guarantee they will find oil, and this new drilling will not relieve gas prices! It will take 5 years before any new production comes online! This is just blackmail by the oil industry to et these drilling rights that they have been after for decades. Both Bush and McCain owe the oil industry huge favors. Cheney makes most of his money on oil.

    Don't give in!

    June 19, 2008 07:02 pm at 7:02 pm |
  24. Hemoglobin

    Where is the CONSERVATION word? Why hasn't anyone uttered the word "we need to cut back", oh, and more trains!

    June 19, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
  25. TheTruthHurts

    Sure, as long as no spill in their neighborhood. Majority favor prisons, nuclear power plants and anything else that promises something for nothing.

    June 19, 2008 07:04 pm at 7:04 pm |
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