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. BIFF, BIFFINGTON...

    judgin fromthe posts here... THIS poll says about 90% of us DO NOT want drilling.

    and i am noting names that re USUALLY on the other side of the spectrum from myself.....

    (me thinks I suspect a push poll)...

    June 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  2. Informed voter from florida

    I'm sure they would. That;s because they are too dumb to realize that for the prices to have risen this much in such a short period of time, that it was a tactic used by the greedy oil companies to find a way to get their hands on more oil. There's no shortage, no disaster, no need for m ore oil other than for the oil companies to make more money. They decided to raise the price until their income went up. Now, with more drilling, their income will continue to go up. We've been had by the oil industry. Shame on us for letting them strong arm us. The Government needs to tax the crap out of them and return that money to the consumer at the pumps in tax reductions.

    June 19, 2008 07:43 pm at 7:43 pm |
  3. Robert in Seattle

    Gun owners, and many other traditional Republican backing groups are now becoming environmentalists. No forests means no Elk to hunt. No wetlands mean no waterfowl to hunt. Polluted rivers mean no salmon to fish. Blindly hating "environmentalists" is just another form of blind bigotry.

    Think about the big picture, don't rely on the paid shills of the media to tell you what to think.

    June 19, 2008 07:45 pm at 7:45 pm |
  4. Justin in CA

    Drill Here Drill Now!! Just anther stupid phrase made up by the two most close-minded people in America. We wouldn't see any of that oit for 10 years. Kick out the speculators.

    June 19, 2008 07:46 pm at 7:46 pm |
  5. homas

    I bet 50% of the people in coastal areas wouldn't embrace this short term "solution" to our energy needs. When the government gets serious about energy efficiency and conservation I'll be more open to this. If Congress can give $100,000 tax breaks for Hummers they sure as hell can give $20,000 tax breaks to help Americans unload theie gas guzzlers for cars that get 35 mpg or more!

    June 19, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  6. Ralph

    Drilling in the ANWR is a perfect example of what off-shore drilling will get us. 110 milion dollars a day in revenue for big oil and a whopping 4 cents a gallon drop in price. I wonder why Repugs want to tap more holes? $$$$$$

    June 19, 2008 07:47 pm at 7:47 pm |
  7. Jen, CA

    Yes, drilling offshore is a temporary solution - BUT it buys us some time to develop other energy-efficient technologies. However, as usual, the ultra liberals (such as Obama) are more concerned about protecting some near-extinct "amoeba stickleback" than solving an energy crisis. If we begin NOW, even if it takes several years, we send a strong signal to the Middle Eastern oil cartels that we won't be their pawn forever! So I say - let usbegin!

    June 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  8. A Nightingale Sings in Berkley Square

    I say to hell with the Democrats and obama

    Let's begin drilling at midnight tonight.

    Only girlie men don't want to drill cause it my get their hands dirty.

    Let's drill early and often and bring down the price of oil and gasoline.

    June 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  9. Mimi De La Cruz for OBAMA

    AMERICANS ARE DESPERATE AND ARE

    BEING CONED ONCE AGAIN. BUSH & MCBUSH

    JUST WANT THIS LAST COUPLE OF BILLIONS

    FOR THEIR OIL MEN & THEMSELVES. FORE

    CERTAIN OUR PRICES WILL CONTINUE TO GO UP.

    June 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  10. John

    My staff says the voters want to drill off shore. So, now I am for it even though I have always been against it in the past and even though I realize that it will have zero impact on gas prices.

    June 19, 2008 07:48 pm at 7:48 pm |
  11. Typical White Male

    See that's the problem with you Obamabots....no forsight. It's not all about right now. So many people are just soooo anxious to elect the first African American President, they see nothing else. I wonder how many of you would be such a die hard Obama fan if you didn't know his race?

    June 19, 2008 07:49 pm at 7:49 pm |
  12. Typical White Male

    Oh, by the way, I love how you Obamabots minimize Polls when they don't favor Obama! By the way, how old do you have to be to post, because so of these comments sound like they were written by a 4th grader?

    June 19, 2008 07:52 pm at 7:52 pm |
  13. David Goldman for OBAMA

    BUSH & MCBUSH TEAM WANT TO GET THAT

    LAST DROP OF BLOOD FROM US,

    OUR NATION AND OUR PLANET.

    YOU LET THEM & YOU WILL FULLY DESERVE

    WHAT IS FOR CERTAIN TO COME.

    June 19, 2008 07:53 pm at 7:53 pm |
  14. kim hussein taylor portland, oregon

    if you want to know the REAL reason you pay $4-plus at the pump, and why offshore drilling is completely unecessary read the:

    US Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations' report on “The Role of Market Speculation in rising oil and gas prices"

    you will be sickened by what you read. it's very dry, but it is VITAL that all americans know the TRUTH!!!! this has ABSOLUTELY NOTHING to do wtih supply and demand.

    In this time of high US gas prices, why has bush EXPANDED the SPR to over one billion barrels?? This is not in the best interest of u.s. citizens, but it IS in the best interest of bush and his oil buddies

    June 19, 2008 07:55 pm at 7:55 pm |
  15. Robert in Seattle

    Perhaps the US should seize the assets of Big oil, it's CEOs, and freeze speculation until we get a commitment for additional refining capacity, a reduction in gas prices now, and a firm commitment to invest in hydrogen fuel cell, plug in electric, and renewable energy technologies. Oil will run out, we need to become not just foreign oil independant, but oil independant.

    June 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  16. Jenna

    The drilling will take part over 50 miles from shore, you can only see up to 11 miles from the shore. China is drilling their now, we can not continue being dependant on the Middle East and send our money there to fund Terrorist Organizations. We need to lower our energy bills, I know I certainly do. I dont have 20,000 to go out and buy a Hybrid!

    Democrat for McCain

    June 19, 2008 07:56 pm at 7:56 pm |
  17. Phil, FL

    Hybrid and Hydrogen and Electric vehicles are available.

    Each individual CAN and should take responsibility.

    Enuff said.

    June 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  18. Kevin McGreevy

    With the advances in drilling technology today, it only makes sense for the United States of America to drill for domestic oil, unless you get some perverted joy in giving a clown dictator like Hugo Chavez more U.S. money to support his anti-American rhetoric

    June 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  19. I used to be a Democrat

    Those Demoncrats who saying "drilling won't solve the oil crisis" are fools. What are you just going to sit there and do nothing? That's what Obama wants to do. NOTHING.

    Not only do we need to drill more offshore, but anywhere in America that has oil. AND we need alternative energy sources produced by Americans in America.

    The new Demoncrat party is grossly pathetic and severly overrated.

    June 19, 2008 07:59 pm at 7:59 pm |
  20. frank from SF

    Spare me- How short-sided. This will do nothing but ruin the environment and line the fat pockets of Bush and Cheney's rich oil friends. For once, we need to think about long term solutions, like improving mass transit, developing alternative fuel sources. Why is it that Americans always take the easy way out.? No universal health care, etc. Why can't we be progressive in our thinking and our actions? Take a page from the European countries. I am beginning to think that the US Education system is so bad to keep our citizens ignorant.

    June 19, 2008 08:00 pm at 8:00 pm |
  21. Ellie in Aurora, CO

    Nooooooooooo! Do we still not get it? We were on the right track during the gas shortage of the 70s – buying smaller cars, and trying to conserve. If gas becomes less expensive, people will be back to Hummers and SUVs! No more oil! Figure out a way to convert our gasoline engines to running on salt water, and have the Feds pay for it. In the long run we will be better off. Stop the madness! This plan will only help the oil people, and make us less inclined to change. Unfortunately, it takes a crisis like we currently have before people get smart. I'm not rich, but will be willing to pay extra for gas, and use more public transportation until there are non-polluting alternatives.

    June 19, 2008 08:03 pm at 8:03 pm |
  22. BW

    It amazes me that the right is always for one solution that is always correct and the only one that is. As the oil companies are those which are the ones engaged in drilling it is they who are not drilling…primarily because of the economics. It’s cheaper to continue to tap existing oilfields than bear the capital costs of exploratory drilling, new drilling equipment, etc. I further disagree that corporations will simply fold given new costs of business…if Ford tomorrow doubled their fuel economies on their vehicles they would quickly corner the market on all new vehicle sales regardless of the price of oil. I simply believe that the free market will only promote that which allows for the highest profit margin…it is incapable without regulation of foresight into what is best for the long term. Forgot the windfall profits tax…simply end all corporate welfare afforded the oil companies and provide it to emerging alternative energy companies and industries. Mandate fuel economy improvements in all new vehicles. The continued belief that we are entitled to static, low prices will continue to guide us down this road of failure and continue to saddle our children with the costs.

    June 19, 2008 08:04 pm at 8:04 pm |
  23. Gene

    I personally think we should drill for oil here.. as long as it can be done safely. The problem is that people think this will fix the gas prices right away.. and it won't. It'll take years for this to help.. but I say better invest in the future because who knows whether alternative energy sources will be running full speed ahead in 5 or 10 years.. better be prepared.

    But I personally believe that we should be exploring other energy sources as well.. and I'm not talking about ethanol. Wind, Hydro, and solar can provide enough electricity to run our whole country if we develop the plants and harness them properly. Even nuclear.

    Believe me.. I'd love to give the Saudis the finger and say now what are you gonna do? Then when their economy collapses.. maybe buy one of those artificial islands in Dubai :)

    June 19, 2008 08:07 pm at 8:07 pm |
  24. richard

    why even bother asking states in the inland of the country. They have no say!

    These polls should only be asking residents that live in states with ocean views, as they would be the deciding factor to vote on this.

    I can guarantee the west coast is off limits. Florida as well.

    June 19, 2008 08:11 pm at 8:11 pm |
  25. Robert in Seattle

    Less Jobs. More Wars. Higher National Debt. If you make $250,000 or more per year, and have invested heavily in big oil, McShame is your man! (at least until he changes his position again)

    The best "Yes, I mean No, I meant Yes" man!

    McShame 08!

    June 19, 2008 08:13 pm at 8:13 pm |
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