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. FEDUP

    Anyone who witnessed an oil spill would think twice about the potential for an evironmental disaster. There are lots of oil wells in CA that are sitting there not pumping oil because when the oil is gone in the Middle East we will have billions of barrels that have been waiting for years to be pumped. If we would all take one company a week of no one buying gas. Lets say no one buys any Shell gas for a week. Go ahead and buy from Exxon or whomever. The next week no Mobil, etc. we would see a gas wars again before long.

    June 19, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  2. Jenna

    Dear MKN:

    It is estimated that we will see a substantial reduction within 3-5 years. We will see a slight reduction immediately.

    Democrat for McCain formerly Clinton

    June 19, 2008 07:05 pm at 7:05 pm |
  3. gary b

    shouldn't we make the oil companies drill offshore at the sites they already have permits too? they can drill right now and they are not!

    June 19, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  4. john from las vegas

    People are ignorant to support more drilling. It will take 8 to 10 years for new rigs to come on line and the only thing it will do for gas prices in the meantime is absolutely nothing!

    But it will make oil companies richer because we as taxpayers will have to subsidize the research and construction cost of new oil sites.

    Is giving oil companies more money to look for more oil so they can charge us more an intellegent idea?

    WAKE UP PEOPLE!! Squezing every last drop of oil out of the ground is NOT the answer. Finding and adusting to new energy sources is.

    June 19, 2008 07:06 pm at 7:06 pm |
  5. Bulldog

    The American way of thinking has already begun to change. Look at Ford and General Motors. They have drastically slowed down production of gas guzzling SUVs. People are buying more fuel effecient cars and energy effecient products. You see more people riding their bikes now. You see more wind turbines going up. The trend is changing and the Big Oil companies are coming and will continue to come out with the help from the Republicans to put a stop this "green" trend because it effects their pocket books. John McCain has top advisors who have big interests with the Big Oil companies and you wonder why he had flip-flopped on this issue. He sees the $ signs.

    June 19, 2008 07:07 pm at 7:07 pm |
  6. kit 'n kaboodle

    Before oil companies start driling off shore, I think that they should drill on the lands that they already lease that has never been drilled on. The oil companies pay millions of dollars yearly for drilling and mineral rights on thousands of acres that have never been drilled on.

    June 19, 2008 07:09 pm at 7:09 pm |
  7. Herman in LA

    The American people are desperate and are getting everything it deserves and will even get more if the elect John McCain. Yea and when we have a major catastrophe off of one of these costs they will be crying foul.

    June 19, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  8. Carol, San Luis Obispo, CA

    Instead of drilling for oil in off-limit areas we should be advancing use of other technology. We can't remain forever beholding to the oil cartel.

    What would happen to the United States military, which is utterly dependent on fossil fuel, if the middle east went sideways and we did not have enough of their oil products? Nothing moves without firing up those big Detroit engines folks.

    Argentina has been powering vehicles with natural gas. We have options. But to remain blind to the only resource of oil is not in our long term interests for consumers and the defense.

    The report I read this morning advised it would be 2030 before new oil drilling in off-limit areas would have any benefit at consumer level.

    Not acceptable.

    June 19, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  9. aaron from minneapolis

    And there you have it, 57% of americans are idiots! Did you see the other poll that 55% of men supported Bush's last White House win? Hmmmmm...

    June 19, 2008 07:10 pm at 7:10 pm |
  10. Ula Nejad- Sacramento Ca

    Perot to has all the answers. Drilling is the republicans answer to pay for their economic plan that Obama continues to critize. Dear citizens, listen to others especially theold and the wise. The country needs some direction and that everyone cannot deny. Welfare to work was the brainchild of the republicans and Clinton had the privilidge to sign the bill as President. This is the best time to run for President because of the environment makes it so tempting. Whoever wins will benefit. Like independents don't know this already.

    June 19, 2008 07:13 pm at 7:13 pm |
  11. NickNas

    This should read

    MAJORITY OF AMERICANS ARE TOO STUPID TO REALIZE THEY ARE BEING PLAYED BY AN OIL RICH ADMINISTRATION

    The problem is NOT SUPPLY!!!! They just want you to think it is so they can lock up the rest of our lands for themselves. There are MILLIONS of Acres of land they have permission to drill on BUT THEY DON'T!!!!

    BUSH & CO Scams

    June 19, 2008 07:14 pm at 7:14 pm |
  12. Sharon in Florida

    Majority of Americans = 1,013 adults aged 18 and older

    Now that made me chuckle... LOL....

    June 19, 2008 07:15 pm at 7:15 pm |
  13. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    They can start drilling right now, and it will not make a difference. every single ship that is CAPABLE of carrying the oil is BOOKED for the next five years...

    build more, you say..... ????

    sounds good .... kind of like when the excuse of the day was a shortage of REFINERYs.... right... (point of reference: the last new oil refinery built in the U.s. was in 1974.

    guys... they.... don't......WANT ...... conditions that will LOWER the price.

    please refer to my previous post....

    June 19, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  14. ward

    let's think people. If we allow off-shore drilling and drilling in wildlife reserves, we may see a few cents taken off the price of gas in 2018. And we will definately see our coastlines, beaches, and marshes destroyed. If we kill off the wildlife and foliage and eliminate the micro organisms that keep all of us alive, what are we leaving our children. Please think.

    June 19, 2008 07:16 pm at 7:16 pm |
  15. Sharon in Florida

    By the way, even if it takes 3 – 5 years to see results of drilling I am still for it, it is a move away from foreign oil.

    June 19, 2008 07:17 pm at 7:17 pm |
  16. Shelly in IL

    Do whatever just bring the gas prices down...thank you!

    June 19, 2008 07:22 pm at 7:22 pm |
  17. red33,cedar rapids, ia

    People who oppose drilling are the 'ignorant' ones; drilling can be done with little or no damage to the environment or wildlife. Remember what they said about building the Alaska pipeline and destroying the caribou?
    The caribou population increased as they 'adjusted'. I am sick to death of these environmentalists and 'rich/uncaring' people who won't let us use our resources. If Clinton had not vetoed the bill authorizing drilling 10 years ago, we would not be in the fix we are now. We need to stop this insanity, which is going on in our Democratic congress. Remember, they have alot of money, and care nothing that we have to pay more for fuel.

    June 19, 2008 07:25 pm at 7:25 pm |
  18. Jenna

    I will vote for McCain's package-No more foreign dependance on Oil, we can be self reliant and still continue Research and Development into other types of energy. I dont want to keep throwing my money away to the Middle East, who knows what their doing with it....

    Democrat for McCain's Plan

    June 19, 2008 07:28 pm at 7:28 pm |
  19. lil

    Why do you now agree to drilling, is it because John Mccain told you too?
    Where are they going to put the oil after they drill it?
    In the new refiniary that are not built yet?
    How is this going to reduce the price of oil when we know we will still
    be driving the same big SUVs.
    By the way mccain use to be against drilling of the coastlines I guess
    bush told him it was a good idea.

    June 19, 2008 07:30 pm at 7:30 pm |
  20. Robert in Seattle

    Ask Mcain (Republicans et al) why Phoenix is not 100% solar powered.

    June 19, 2008 07:32 pm at 7:32 pm |
  21. annie

    Let the don't drill anywhere anytime demos fund their constituents rising gas expenses out of their own pockets if they don't want to drill. These ignorant politicians seem to forget they work for the american citizen, not the other way around

    June 19, 2008 07:34 pm at 7:34 pm |
  22. Robert in Seattle

    Big oils last grab before Dems landslide in November.

    June 19, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  23. vic nashville,Tn

    Obama bye bye
    Hillary 08 or Mc Cain 08

    June 19, 2008 07:35 pm at 7:35 pm |
  24. After further review,Texas

    I cant believe people still believe polls,it really amazes me.

    June 19, 2008 07:37 pm at 7:37 pm |
  25. Sherri

    The only reason people are suddenly supporting off-shore drilling is that people are in a crisis over gas prices. Once the media exposes how long it will take to get the oil, the polls will go back the other way. Off-shore drilling has been banned because of its detrimental impact to the environment.

    June 19, 2008 07:41 pm at 7:41 pm |
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