In wake of BP oil disaster, support for offshore drilling has “fallen dramatically.”

Oil polling

In the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, a poll by Rasmussen has found that support for offshore drilling has “fallen dramatically.”

I wouldn’t put too much faith in the absolute levels of support in the polls, since Rasmussen tends to “produce conservative leaning results (see: here, here and here),” as Enviroknow notes.

I would also add that we’re only at the very beginning stages of a disaster that is likely to play out over many weeks if not months, so I wouldn’t be surprised if these numbers kept going in the same direction.

At the end of March, after the Obama administration announced that it would “approve new oil and gas drilling off U.S. coasts for the first time in decade,” a poll by Rasmussen Reports found that 72 percent of U.S. voters believed that offshore oil drilling should be allowed “” the highest level of support for drilling that Rasmussen had found in nearly three years of surveying. But now, in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, Rasmussen has found that support for offshore drilling has “fallen dramatically“:

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of voters believe offshore oil drilling should be allowed. But that’s down 14 points from 72% just after President Obama’s announcement at the end of March that he was lifting the ban on offshore drilling for the first time in years.

Twenty-three percent (23%) now oppose offshore drilling. Nineteen percent (19%) remain unsure whether it’s a good idea or not.

However, while most support drilling, 69% are at least somewhat concerned that offshore drilling may cause environmental problems. That’s up from 49% in March.

As ThinkProgress has noted, several dozen environmental groups, like the Sierra Club, Natural Resources Defense Council, and Greenpeace, have written the Senate in opposition of expanding drilling in the wake of the spill. The Rasmussen poll also found that 43 percent of voters rate President Obama’s response to the major oil leak as good or excellent while just 26 percent view the president’s response as poor. Only 29 percent “say the response of BP and Transocean has been good or excellent, while 28 percent rate it as poor.”

This was a TP repost.

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5 Responses to In wake of BP oil disaster, support for offshore drilling has “fallen dramatically.”

  1. thomas says:

    Seriously, where is Obama on this? Is there ever going to be a better policy window for clean energy than a massive oil spill, tragic coal mine disaster, and the ongoing destruction of towns in the Marcellus Shale territory? These Dem. majorities aren’t going to be around forever. I wish they would act like it.

  2. Jonsi says:

    Employees I know at BP are actually shocked at how swiftly and extensively the company is responding to the spill. This is not to be intended as praise, but rather the symptom of the problem — the company is disorganized. From Prudhoe Bay, to Texas City, to Thunderhorse, to now: senior staff counting their days until retirement have been overseeing massive cost costing because even though they produce more oil than Exxon, for example, they make half as much money. Exxon is known for being rigidly, almost militarily structured. BP is known for being the best at finding oil, but disorganized as hell when it comes to producing it. While this incident could happen to any company given the lack of best-practice regulations, it doesn’t surprise me that it happened to BP. My belief is that employees at BP — top to bottom — care more about environmental issues than any other company. It’s part of their recruitment, development, and retention. But clearly, “trust us” was beyond misguided. I only hope that BP will emerge from this and work with government, rather than against it, to ensure nothing like this again occurs. Sadly, history tells me otherwise.

  3. mike roddy says:

    I’m amazed that a majority of Americans still supports offshore drilling. What will it take? Dead birds on their lawns?

  4. Andy says:

    OK, now it’s time for Obama to put a fork into the myth of environmentally safe offshore oil production. This should be a news conference in which he announces a ban on new leases during his tenure as president. I suggest he stand in front of a “Mission Accomplished” banner with the BP logo on each end and the subheading in slightly smaller font stating “The Industry has Ended the Debate”.

    Hopefully he will take the opportunity to announce his intent to steer the Nation’s energy production into a different direction.

  5. Rick Covert says:


    Muckraking journalist Greg Palast has an article that highlights BP’s gross negligence in the Deep Water Horizon blowout. Why did Halliburton inadequately seal the blowout valve? Because BP knew the well was deeper than the 18,000 ft they reported, but failed to report that to Halliburton which made the cement cap for the additional pressure the extra depth caused and the result was a blowout. It’s here at

    [JR: Thanks for this. I’ll repost Friday. We all just got 10 million gallons of muck to rake….]