July 30th, 2008
11:00 AM ET
6 years ago

Poll: Most Americans want offshore drilling

Most Americans are for offshore drilling but are split on whether it will change gas prices.
Most Americans are for offshore drilling but are split on whether it will change gas prices.

(CNN) - Most Americans favor an increase in offshore oil drilling but the public is split over whether or not it would result in lower gas prices in the next year, according to a just-released CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll.

More than two thirds of Americans say they favor increasing drilling efforts off America's costs while only 30 percent disapprove of such action. Those numbers come the same day President Bush publicly scolded Democratic congressional leaders for not putting his proposal to expand domestic oil drilling, specifically on the outer continental shelf, to a vote.

iReport.com: Is drilling the best option?

The issue has become a divisive one on the campaign trail, with John McCain in favor of lifting a congressional ban on offshore drilling while Barack Obama is opposed to such a proposal.

McCain has said such increases in drilling efforts could ease prices at the pump within a "matter of months." But Obama has said there is little evidence that drilling offshore would have any positive effect on American consumers and is instead pushing energy rebates.

The poll also shows Americans are divided when it comes to the effect of offshore drilling. Just over 50 percent think it will reduce gas prices while 49 percent say it will not.

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soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. hilliary

    I'm convinced the dumbing down of America is in full bloom..That acid, heroin, and hippie juice really altered the baby boomers ability to think rationally. Drill more, for no effect.. Good grief!

    July 30, 2008 12:12 pm at 12:12 pm |
  2. Obamalism

    Getting our oil (we'll always need oil, not just for fuel...) domestically rather than from overseas is top priority.

    National Security and trade deficits are just as important, if not more, than the price at the pump.

    You want to end the so called 'oil wars'? We'd have little interest in the middle east if they weren't supplying 70% of our energy...

    July 30, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  3. Steve

    Can't believe what I'm reading. America was built on oil not wind or solar. Everything runs on oil not wind. If not for the oil industry, we'd be another 3rd world country. Kicking the oil habit as you suggest would put our economy in a further decline. Is that what you want? Recessions and depressions are defined by a lack of growth in the economy. Artificially limiting the supply of oil, hurts our economy tremendously. Every dollar sent overseas for over-prices oil is a dollar not spend on american goods and services. Think about it! Why the heck wouldn't we use our own oil for the next 50 years. Think about technology 50 years ago and then think about what it might be like 50 years from now. Why starve ourselves. It makes no sense unless you want people to suffer along with our economy.

    July 30, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  4. Susan

    America wants the gas prices to drop, whatever it takes!!

    July 30, 2008 12:13 pm at 12:13 pm |
  5. DonnieJ

    Why not start drilling on-shore, in places where oil companies already have what they need to drill? And I'm not talking about the Arctic Wildlife Refuge – I'm talking about the palces that the oil companies have already secured yet are apparently ignoring. That would make more sense than doing it off-shore.

    July 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  6. Nikole

    @ BR- Oil is traded on a world market. We cannot just say, we drilled it, it is ours. We drill it, it goes on a WORLD market and other countries can buy however much they want. People in this country may not see American oil for years.

    July 30, 2008 12:14 pm at 12:14 pm |
  7. Ron democrat turned independent

    IT IS ONLY COMMON SENSE TO BRIDGE THE GAP TO THE FUTURE INDEPENDENCE FROM FOSSIL FUEL ON TECHNOLOGY THAT YOU KNOW. GAMBLING ON ALTERNITIVES WITHOUT A BACK UP CAN BE VERY DANGEROUS. WHAT WILL HAPPEN TO STEEL PRICES IF WE USE IT ALL FOR WIND TURBINES . CARS AND ANYTHING MADE WITH IT WILL BE OUT OF REACH FOR THE AVERAGE PERSON. BIO FUELS IS ALREADY MAKING A DRASTIC CHANGE ON THE PRICE OF CEREALS ECT. IT IS EASY TO SAY WIND POWER, BIO FUEL, SOLAR ECT. BUT WHAT ARE THE CONSEQUENSES OF THOSE ACTIONS. YOU NEED THE TRIED AND TRUE TILL WE CAN SORT OUT THE PROS AND CONS OF ALTERNATIVES. LIKE ALWAYS SEN. OBAMA MAKES HIS PRESENTATION WITHOUT A PROPER DEMONSTRATION SO IT IS JUST SIMPLY CONVERSATION. IS IT NOT

    July 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  8. Steve

    Has American cornered the market on STUPIDITY??? I think so. If only they knew the real facts about giving the big oil company more offshore drilling rights instead of buying into the BULL that the Republican and McSurge who opposed it from that start, and then flip for political gain, they would be shocked.

    WAKE UP AMERICA. MCSURGE IS A DISASTER WAITING LIKE BUSH

    July 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  9. James Hussein, SC

    Adrian Veidt July 30th, 2008 11:38 am ET

    Drilling for offshore oil is not a quick fix. It will take years to see the effects. It's not a solution, it's just something that LOOKS like a solution to someone who has never studied it.

    So, OK we get the oil tomorrow, will that lower prices? NO. Why, because all oil is sold on basically one market. The price of oil is strongly determined by future price sales. Buyers try to predict what they need and make bids for oil at a future price for delivery. Speculators can influence the price by buying the futures (long and short sales). Supply does not directly affect prices. It takes a drastic change in oil supply for the futures to be affected the way that big oil wants you to believe. What all this expanded drilling will do is secure the profits of the big oil companies. Ask them why they have thousands of wells capped while they are still productive. The answer is that they can't get as big a profit from those wells. Ask them to release the wells to smaller companies and they will tell that they plan to use those capped wells in the future. Hey, the future is now. Stop asking for more before you have used what you already have.

    July 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  10. Dave

    Some quick facts:

    1. There is a higher percentage risk of spills when importing oil rather then drilling domestically.

    2. Every 4 years due to natural seapage, oil the same amount as the exxon spill goes into the waters off the coast of California. Drilling actually works to alleviate this natural seapage.....just some science for the dems who choose to ignore it......

    July 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  11. TESAP; SAVANNAH, GA

    SURE THEY DO BECAUSE THEY DON'T REALIZE THAT WE WILL BE PAYING FOR IT.............. LITERALLY

    July 30, 2008 12:15 pm at 12:15 pm |
  12. LOL

    50% of Americans voted for Bush....TWICE! Of course, they want off-shore drilling. They're stupid.

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  13. McArsenic

    oh yeah i forgot...the ERON LOOPHOLE (Google it before you fill up your tank) Phil Gramm's, McCain's good friend and advisor, baby...the Dems have tried to regulate speculators who maneuver through the ENRON LOOPHOLE but they are the majority by one ONE seat...so the repubs have blocked the Dems efforts, holding the American people hostage. the Dems are Majority by only ONE seat they have been fighting to release oil from the reserves but the repubs blocked that too...holding the American people hostage. the Dems are the majority by only ONE seat but that is not enough to stop repub filibusters. off shore drilling does not make sense...this are bad, gas is high but false solutions born from desperation lead only to catastrophe.

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  14. Jon

    Possibly Tom, but it's not like there really is a shortage out there. Just like the late 70s, there is oil that can be produced, but the powers that be (cough Exxon Mobile, Texaco, BP, et al) are choosing to reduce supply to increase their profit margins.

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  15. Whats left in your wallet?

    The republican pillagers and looters still want more of your money,they dont care if your pockets are empty.

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  16. Tanisha in CA

    Eric, you've reflected my thoughts exactly! Unfortunately, most Americans simply aren't fully aware of the devastating impact our addiction to oil has on our environment, wildlife, and health, and it's only going to make matters even worse if we do not act quickly! This is not simply a "liberal" notion as some would want us to believe. These are facts that are firmly grounded in science... anyone who has studied the subject of ecology would understand. If more of the country were to be made aware of how truly WRONG and immoral this decision would be, I am absolutely certain that they would be against it. Our time for transition to clean, sustainable, and renewable energy is long overdue, and it's the only sane choice if we hope for future generations to survive as we know it. Oil is a FINITE resource which means we have to wean off of it anyway... this is a simple point that many seem to miss.

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  17. Candy West Virginia

    what about the oil spill in the mississippi last week that still has it closed down and has killed thousands of wildlife? Those that want off shore drilling don't live near the beach. Besides what about the 65 million acres the gas companies are currently leasing? Why don't they drill there?

    July 30, 2008 12:16 pm at 12:16 pm |
  18. Obamalism

    To all you who hate oil drilling, why don't you let the states decide? If YOU don't want drilling off your coasts (if you even have a coast) don't stop my state from doing it.

    Republicans aren't calling for all states to HAVE to open their shores...but each state sure as hell should have the right to decide on what they do with their coasts. I live in Louisiana and the positives that oil and natural gas business brings to our state outwieghs the negatives 100 fold.

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  19. Jon

    I've always voted mostly Democrat, but I have voted for Republicans on occasion and have always considered myself open minded. The Republican reaction to high gas prices, however, and their incredibly transparent call for more oil drilling despite every expert on earth predicting it wouldn't help for at least 10 years, has completely turned me off. McCain has no shot at my vote now. I'm not completely against drilling, but to focus on drilling and drilling only while ignoring the alternative forms of energy that will allow the US to lead the world for the rest of the century is absolutely criminal. I don't know how these Republicans can look themselves in the mirror, and I plan to do everything I can to make sure they don't have any say in the future of this country.

    July 30, 2008 12:18 pm at 12:18 pm |
  20. Ken Pittsburgh

    when a man like T boone pickens say tthat it will not matter we can not drill our way out i would listen to him.to tell the truth i am not a pickens fan

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  21. Ryan in Baltimore

    Why is nobody talking about the fact that drilling won't matter because of the companies? Republicans go around screaming that it will make things cheaper in 20-30 years, but no, it won't, ever. The companies drilling will do what's best for them. So we give them the right to destroy our shores to get more oil, and then they sell it to the highest bidder. Which right now is NOT America. The Chinese and Indian government's and their corporations are paying top dollar for their gas. Just because we let them drill in our country doesn't mean they'll sell it to us. They have a duty to their shareholders and not the American public.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  22. Whats left in your wallet?

    Republicans may not raise taxes,but they makeup for it in higher energy bills that go directly in to there offshore banks.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  23. c-moan

    Time Magazine a few weeks back ran a very TINY little breakdown of why we won't see oil for 6-10 years if the ban were to be lifted.

    And for some reason, the media (Cable, online, and printed press) does not want to report ANY of this to the public. (my guess is that this debate garners a lot of attention and attention equals ratings which equals $$$ which equals..well, you get the picture)

    I will now do my best to recreate the breakdown.

    Even if the ban were to be lifted tomorrow and Off-shore drilling were to be greenlighted, we will not see oil for 6-10 years because:

    1-2 years – surveying possible oil drilling sites
    1-2 years – testing the possible oil drilling sites to see if there will be any oil
    1-2 years – once oil is found, rigs and drills need to be built
    1-2 years – drilling begins

    also, for some reason, nobody seems to understand that the few billion barrels that can come out of this offshore drilling will only supply American with oil for about ONE YEAR.

    so we can trade 6-10 years of Research and Development and tax payers' dollars to drill for about 1 year's worth of oil.

    That really doesn't sound like the most profitable return.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  24. William, from Cali!

    I really don't care, if they drill or not; I don't!...........................

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
  25. Bryan

    Well 50% are wrong. Somebody needs to educate those 50% so they don't end up being mislead into voting for McCain.

    July 30, 2008 12:19 pm at 12:19 pm |
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