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Support for offshore oil drilling plummets after Obama endorses the idea

May 7, 2010 | 11:44 am


A new public opinion poll reveals a sudden and unexplained drop in popular support for offshore oil drilling among adult Americans.

The puzzling poll by Rasmussen Reports finds that a healthy majority of Americans (58%) still do support the idea of exploring for new petroleum and energy resources in domestic offshore waters.

However, the number in favor has dropped from 72% after President Obama announced his support of such exploration in March, lifting a years-long ban.

It's probably ridiculous to think the Democratic president has become so unpopular among U.S. voters that simply his endorsement of the offshore oil drilling idea would cause its popularity to plummet like this. But how else to interpret the change?

The inland ex-state senator has since flip-flopped on his support of offshore oil drilling, at least temporarily, pending further study.

The poll of 1,000 adults finds that 19% don't know whether they like the Obama drilling idea and 23% know they don't.

More than two-out-of-three (69%) of respondents are now at least somewhat concerned over possible environmental damage from such exploration activities in deep waters. That number has also changed dramatically since Obama's endorsement announcement, up from 49%.

Go figure.

-- Andrew Malcolm

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Photo: U.S. Coast Guard