Public Less Enthusiastic About Drilling

I’ve got a new piece up today looking back at 2008 and the expiration of the long-standing moratorium on offshore drilling. Basically, it’s a reminder that public pressure (egged on by the Republicans’ chants of “Drill, baby, drill”) succeeded in freaking out congressional Democrats, who let the 27-year-old ban on new drilling expire. Had that moratorium been renewed, we wouldn’t be caught up in such a grueling debate on the issue now.

But with millions of gallons of crude flooding the Gulf of Mexico, public opinion is changing. A new Rasmussen poll released Thursday finds that while the majority of the public still favors drilling, that majority is declining. Fifty-eight percent of voters believe offshore drilling should be allowed. But that’s down 14 points since the end of March, when Obama announced his plans to expand drilling. And while most still approve of drilling, 69 percent say they are “somewhat concerned” that offshore drilling may cause environmental problems. (Hmm, you think?)

The decline is across political parties, though Republicans are still much more enthusiastic about drilling than Democrats, with 77 percent favoring it. EnviroKnow put together a chart documenting public opinion on the subject dating back to June 2008:

More Mother Jones reporting on Climate Desk

HERE ARE THE FACTS:

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ONE MORE QUICK THING:

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As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

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