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

Poll: Most Americans want offshore drilling

[cnn-photo-caption image= http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2008/images/07/30/art.gasprices.gi.jpg caption="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.

More from CNNMoney.com

soundoff (211 Responses)
  1. Obamalism

    The voice of the people are more important than Nancy Pelosi and Harry Reid and the power trip they're playing in Congress. The people are ALWAYS right.

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  2. Ron democrat turned independent


    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  3. Phil, FL

    There you go again CNN – polling Big Oil.

    Why don't you poll people from CA, FL, NC?

    July 30, 2008 12:20 pm at 12:20 pm |
  4. Canadian black man for Obama.

    Well McCain have to spend his campaign money so how.

    When most people are finding it difficult to pay gas, difficulty with their home bill, difficulty with their health care bill.

    McCain have all the money to spend on negative ad against Obama. McCain have nothing really to say about Obama so he make things up.

    Is McCain the next president you really need NOW? McCainflip flopper, the media cover Obama 75% percent than McCain, but all the coverages are negative news that McCain want them to cover.

    All the mispeak, all the flip flops McCain have commited none appears on the news and if they do it doesn't last half a day.

    When will the media be fair?

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  5. Bayou Joe

    Off course we are for domestic drilling. We cannot continue to rely on foreign sources of oil. We also need to open new refineries, construct nuclear power plants and seek alternative sources of fuel for America's automobiles. We need to stop thinking short term and prepare a better future for our children and grandchildren.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  6. Hearn

    You know, if the oil companies had run out of area where they could drill and NEEDED the "ban" to lift, then we could have this conversation. But there are still huge areas left untapped by them. So, what, you want to give them MORE space ... not to drill in? Sure, why not?

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  7. Ian

    Oil companies are leasing millions of acres of land and AREN'T drilling on it. They are artificially lowering the supply of oil which increases the cost. This is the same thing that Enron was doing.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  8. Bob Indianapolis, IN

    Big Oil can't or won't drill on the thousands of acres of leases they already have...they want more...IT'S NEVER ENOOUGH! Sorry, there are still a few parts of the earth you can't have! Sorry.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  9. KMAN

    Most Americans are stupid ... they gave us 8 years of George Bush ... case closed.

    July 30, 2008 12:21 pm at 12:21 pm |
  10. Drilling Caused The Problem!!!

    Drilling Caused The Problem!!!!

    There's not enough Oil in the World to fuel all the Cars In the World!!!!!

    Consumers can no longer afford Oil!!!!!!!

    It's time for NEW FUEL!!!!!!!!
    Bio Fuel, Hybrids, Electrics...... NOW!!!!!!!!!!!

    We can't drill ourselves out of the same problem that has existed for decades!!!! Drilling NEAR SHORE, will POLUTE THE SHORES!!!!!!

    Instead of letting American Companys drill in the Gulf now, why did Bush BANN them from drilling in Cuba 4 years ago!!!!!! If he had allowed it, we would have Oil from Cuba Today!!!!!! The problem would had been better Today!!!!! The Cold War is Over!!!!! Cuba is not a threat!!!!! We could had been drilling there 4 years ago, but Bush BANNED IT!!!!!!!

    It's too late to start drilling new now, because the Oil wouldn't be here for years!!!!!! Bush created the Problem by not working with Oil Suppliers!!!!

    Learn from the Past!!!! Learn from our mistakes!!!! Don't drill again, instead BUILD BETTER CARS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    BUILD BETTER CARS!!!!!!!!!!!
    BUILD BETTER CARS!!!!!!!!!

    If we want New Oil Now, then get it from Cuba!!!!!!!!

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  11. WarHeroFmrPOW HijaxStr8talkXpress DrivzIn2GutR TurnzCoward XploitsTroopsAsProps UsesPatraeusAs PoliticalPawn

    Shows you how smart Americans are. Desperate, self-centered, uninformed and always unwillingly to sacrifice.

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  12. Obamalism

    Yuck... Texas doesn't have great shorelines. Yet, it's not from the oil industry. Not every coast line in the world is like the French Riviera.

    Louisiana has terrible beaches, but it's not from big oil. It's from the silt flowing out of the Miss. River Delta.

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  13. Steve

    Forget about more drilling for fossil fuels that could be the cause for major disaster and start using what we have the most of in this country..NATURAL GAS..even if drilling began it would not be for another 10 years before any of us sees any benefit from it, if ever, cause big oil will only just sell it to the rest of the world for a higher price. Big oil have always been in the Republican pockets (Chaney/Bush) and will be the same with McSurge.

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  14. Truth


    The offshore drilling issue is a false issue put forth by the Republican party to bamboozle easily fooled voters; the Republicans are always very good at exploiting voters' ignorance–and they may get away with it again. This is a false issue not only because opening up currently banned areas will not lower gas prices due to not be able to even come close to America's demand for oil, but because there are miles and miles of non-banned areas open for drilling right now that are not being drilled. Why should banned areas be opened for drilling when the non-banned areas are not even being drilled? And if the Republicans actually thought drilling would lower gas prices why didn't they press the oil companies (that support them all the time) to drill in the non-banned areas for the last 20 years? To score political points, McCain is arguing dishonestly that Obama and the Democrats are preventing drilling by not opening the banned areas when that is not the truth because the open areas could be drilled right now–and much to my pain Obama is allowing the issue to be framed that way. Obama should argue he is in favor of drilling–just in the non-banned areas and he should raise the questions I have noted above–forcefully.

    July 30, 2008 12:22 pm at 12:22 pm |
  15. Pat Riot

    It's not so much that it will reduce gas it is the right of the states to have access to their own natural resources. They were banned for the wrong reasons. Now if they were banned in an effort to protect the private property of beachfront homeowners then maybe I could understand but they weren't. More states rights, less central government and everyone will benefit especially the local communities where jobs may be . Sounds like a plan to me.

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  16. Just Sayin...

    Thast cause most american's are dumb....

    July 30, 2008 12:23 pm at 12:23 pm |
  17. Stewart

    What is the BEST cast scenario for offshore drilling? Answer: Enough oil to supply a year's worth of American consumption. Now, try and tell me that is worth the risk of polluting our coasts, killing wildlife, and being an all-round eyesore. I just love the idea of trash from the oil rigs washing up on my beaches. To change the analogy slightly, the oil provided would be like a drop in the barrel. It's one of these knee-jerk reactions that is not based on fact and logic, but rather based on the current "oil panic." We need ALTERNATIVE energies, not more drilling for oil. It's too bad that terrible, horrible, awful president Jimmy Carter couldn't do what he WANTED to do and invest heavily in alternative energies. He was dismissed, and look how that turned out. It's just too bad that big oil is driving this issue, and deceiving most Americans into believing this will alleviate our pain at the pump.

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  18. GR

    People need to understand that drilling off the coast of California will not yield crude oil for consumption by automobiles, but will only provide materials for building roads and other places where crude oil is used. It will do nothing to reduce our dependency on foreign oil and it will do nothing to help those struggling to fill up their tanks. How about this: I have cut my gas costs in half through the magical thing known as "car-pooling."

    July 30, 2008 12:24 pm at 12:24 pm |
  19. Ken

    Get a grip, especially you neo-morons who like to drink any type of short-term kool-aid that corporate America and the [R] are handing out. Let's see: the American public split on an important issue. When was the last time that happened? And what did we get?-–President George Bush.

    If there is one thing that the American public has made clear over the last 8 years, it is that they are dreadfully incompetent at selecting the correct path forward. The same people who want drilling in new areas off the coast because they think it will affect gas prices now, tend to be the same people who will vote for McCain, who tend to be the same people who voted for Bush. These people are PROVEN idiots when it comes to chosing what's best for America - they think short-term, and they vote based on fear. And for these reasons I view these people as cowardly Americans. They are a shameful bunch, that repeatedly put at risk the very national experiment that our forefathers started and many people have since sacrificed for - one need only look at what has happened to our government and our nation over the past 8 years. These people are proud of their lapel pins, but they are empty of true patriotism. These people wave the constitution, but continually vote people into office that trample on it. These people glorify the current mess we are in as the correct way forward, and thus they have no intention of creating or supporting solutions to the real problems that plague or country.

    Quite simply: a vote for a [R] this fall is a vote to continue this country's backslide into the Dark Ages.

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  20. James Hussein, SC


    There is a big sucking machine that is grabbing googles of oil from the market. It is called the Iraqi war. Are all these tanks, HVs, vihecles, and military airplanes running on sand? It seems to me that one way to lower the American demand for oil is STOP THE WAR IN IRAQ.

    Nope! Let's just expand the war in Iraq and blame it all on Barack Obama. Why not? That's the McCain answer for our oil problems.

    July 30, 2008 12:25 pm at 12:25 pm |
  21. Roger from CA

    Let me be blunt: If you were opposed to drilling offshore and in ANWR when gas was $2.00/gal, there is NO principled reason to support it when gas is $4.00/gal, $5.00/gal, or even higher.

    Look, I despise paying $75 for a tank of gas as much as (or, given my long commute, probably more than) the next guy, and I'm certainly not rolling in the dough. But the reasons why offshore and ANWR drilling are BAD IDEAS haven't changed. Gas prices ebb and flow, and are mostly up due to a current, probably brief, speculative bubble. But extraction of oil from offshore fields and ANWR will do IRREVERSIBLE damage: and I'm not talking just about the namby-pamby, "elitist", tree-hugging concerns like, oh, plant and wildlife health and the "purity" of nature.... I'm talking about increased pollution, degradation of fisheries and tourism, INEVITABLE oil spills fouling our waters (sorry, McCain, no such thing as "safe" new drilling technologies).

    Plus, the problem we have right now isn't just that our oil comes from abroad, its that we are so dependant on oil regardless of the source. We are no better than addicts, and we are poisoning ourselves in the process. All of our energy investments at this point should focus on developing efficient and practical electric cars, on the one hand, and, on the other hand, filling our electric grid (that will charge those cars) with electrons from renewable, non-warming, non-polluting sources like solar, wind, geothermal and hydroelectric.

    And, lastly, the example of the oil companies' laziness in pursuing oil drilling on the MILLIONS of acres already authorized shows that (a) oil won't be flowing from offshore and ANWR drills for DECADES, at best, and (b) it probably still isn't economically viable, anyways.

    July 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  22. Bukky


    July 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  23. Brennan

    Offshore drilling is not going to help or solve the problem right now! It will years from now.. But thats years from now! People need to understand that..

    July 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  24. Peter of Oregon

    The CNN polls are highly inaccurate. I've seen 8-9 point swings in polling results from day to day. So to say that your polls are truly representative of the American people is highly suspect.

    Many Americans shoot from the hip, they are followers. This is why Bush got elected twice, and why McCain is where he is right now in the polls. Americans are voting for like minded individuals to tell them what to do, and what to think.

    July 30, 2008 12:27 pm at 12:27 pm |
  25. Ron

    Drilling offshore won't make a difference in the short term, but, in the long run we won't have to kiss the saudies butts to keep our country running and I'm all for that. Its about time we start looking ahead to do what is best for OUR country rather then doing for other countries who want nothing to do with us, If they reject our help, let them fend for themselves,
    When will you people in Washington learn that most of the American people are tired of going without so we can send billions to countries that turn around and use the money we send to buy guns to shoot at us with. all of America knows that , you people in Washington seem to be the only ones who don't.
    You better start caring about our country or come election time we will put people in office with or without experience who want the job. Obamas run for the presidency should be a wake up call to all of you senators and congressmen that the people are fed up with the status quo.

    July 30, 2008 12:28 pm at 12:28 pm |
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