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 to 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.”