The gulf oil spill disaster is starting to take a serious toll on public support for offshore drilling. Consider these data from a new Pew Research Center poll. Back in February of this year, 63 percent of the public supported more offshore drilling as a policy response to address our energy needs, compared to 31 percent who were opposed. Today a majority of the public—52 percent—opposes offshore drilling, and support has fallen to 44 percent.
Compare those views on allowing more offshore drilling to the robust support for requiring that new homes and buildings meet higher efficiency standards (78 percent), for increasing federal funding for research on wind, solar, and hydrogen technology (75 percent), and for spending more on subway, rail, and bus systems (64 percent).
The public is sending a clear message here about their priorities for meeting our energy needs. Let’s hope policymakers are listening.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.