Gallup: “Drill Baby Drill” gets dash of cold water

posted at 10:55 am on May 28, 2010 by Ed Morrissey

The bad news for Drill Baby Drill advocates: the Gulf spill at Deepwater Horizon has forced a rebound for prioritizing environmental concerns over energy needs among Americans.  The good news: it hasn’t eliminated majority support for off-shore drilling … yet.  The long-term trend over the past three years that finally put energy needs as a higher priority only took a month to reverse after the inability of BP and the Obama administration to stop the massive spill:

Between March and today, with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill intervening, Americans’ preferences for prioritizing between environmental protection and energy production have shifted from a somewhat pro-energy stance to an even stronger pro-environment stance. …

Democrats had already put more emphasis on environmental protection than on energy production in March, but that position has gained strength among Democrats today. Independents’ views have flipped from a majority pro-energy stance in March to a majority pro-environment one today. In contrast, Republicans’ opinions have not changed since the oil spill occurred; they continue to prioritize energy production over environmental protection by a 2-to-1 margin.

That means three years of lost ground, which will take at least several months after a cleanup to reverse.  It’s not difficult to understand why this reaction occurred, and it’s not just because of the pictures and attention in the media at the moment.  That trend owed at least some of its gains to a sense that the oil industry had figured out how to keep oil from spilling from off-shore rigs, or at the least knew how to stop a blowout quickly.  Accidents have gone down significantly, but the clearly desperate response from BP and the White House shows that no one really knows how to handle a situation like this — which saps the confidence of the American public.

Fortunately, though, Americans are keeping an open mind, at least for now:

President Barack Obama’s decision to extend a moratorium on new deepwater ocean drilling comes at a time when Americans are divided, with 50% in favor and 46% opposed, on increased drilling for oil and gas off U.S. coasts. However, most stop short of favoring a prohibition on drilling, as, on a follow-up question, 19% of Americans say they are opposed to all drilling in U.S. coastal areas. …

A Fox News/Opinion Dynamics poll conducted in early April — before the spill occurred — asked the same question of registered voters and found 70% favoring increased drilling in U.S. coastal areas. That number dipped to 60% in early May, shortly after the oil spill occurred. In the new USA Today/Gallup poll, 52% of registered voters support drilling, suggesting support has slipped further as the oil spill has expanded in size and begun to come ashore.

Since April, Democratic voters’ support for increased coastal oil drilling has fallen well below the majority level. Independent voters’ support has also declined significantly, but remains just above a majority in the latest poll. Meanwhile, there has been just a slight decline in the percentage of Republican voters who are in favor of increased drilling.

If BP and the oil industry want to keep those two lines from going any further in their current direction, they had better hope that the “top kill” procedure works to seal off the blowout and that the cleanup happens quickly.  Otherwise, “Drill Baby Drill” will give way to “the spill, baby, the spill” and American energy production will wind up relying even more on foreign producers.

Update: Several commenters are making a good point about changing the dynamic on where to drill, rather than whether to drill.  This kind of problem wouldn’t have occurred in ANWR or in the shale areas of the US.  When the public resistance ebbs, that will be a good argument to make.


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It’s almost like Obama kept golfing and let the oil spread and destroy wildlife & businesses for a month.

tetriskid on May 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

You want to know when this changes?

When gas tops out at $4.00 a barrel.

victor82 on May 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Russia, Japan, China, Brazil, and Mexico ALL…

Continue drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and exploring new areas to drill.

Skywise on May 28, 2010 at 10:58 AM

Usual pathetic HA bunched-up panties hysteria.
When oil gets up to $100/barrel and gas soars over $4/gallon, they’ll all be crying for the rigs to show up.

TexasJew on May 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

..wait’ll there’s an oil crisis and feel the water heat up quick.

The War Planner on May 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

I meant, per gallon.

We should be so lucky to have oil at $4.00 a barrell.

victor82 on May 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Do the people who have gone squishy realize that China and Cuba will be drilling in the Gulf? Chances of spills increased without the ability to do anything about them. Not that we appear to be the go-to folks in that department.

Cindy Munford on May 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

So the Left thinks the answer is to bring oil here from the other side of the world, where they’re not as environmentally careful, at risk of a shipping mishap. Even with no mishap, shipping that far causes a lot of pollution. So the Left is inconsistent.

itsnotaboutme on May 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I thought Rush L. really had one of the most interesting comments on this. The politicizing of energy policies actually really was the reason for deep ocean drilling, versus off-shore drilling. I think Sarah is right. On-land drilling is far safer.

We’ll have to wait to see the “shudder” factor of this disaster.

We’ve essentially killed off an industry and ruined a huge section of our coast with this disaster. No way around that.

AnninCA on May 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM

I predict that my area will flourish. Our fisheries are fine.

Look for a boom industry in the Houston/Galveston area!

AnninCA on May 28, 2010 at 11:01 AM

It will change when they stop the leak , no it looks like it will just go on and on.

the_nile on May 28, 2010 at 11:02 AM

“Shrinkage”

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:03 AM

As far as I’m concerned this poll is a strong argument for drilling in both shallower waters and places on land such as Anwar where the drilling is easier to control and the spills easier to contain.

KickandSwimMom on May 28, 2010 at 11:03 AM

The dragging the feet on this oil spill was a political calculation for just this result to push Obama’s dying cap & trade fiasco. The response to this disaster was so pitiful and slow there can be no other reason.

KickandSwimMom on May 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM

How about drilling closer to shore,and not soooooooo deep!

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:05 AM

OT: Well the go between between Sestak and White House is.. none other than “Slick Willie” Clinton. This is just breaking.

Dire Straits on May 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Well, does it really matter at this point? I mean, the Benevolent One put the kabosh on oil production period for the foreseeable future…oh yeah…right after he plugged the hole, Daddy.

Chewy the Lab on May 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Doesn’t matter what the polls say, or what people want. All, that’s all offshore drilling is being shutdown for at least six months, perhaps longer.

No more exploration, no more production, no more new wells in known fields. Nothing, no where, no how.

Skandia Recluse on May 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

The irony here is that the oil industry has learned some valuable technical lessens that will likely diminish the impact the next time this happens. They know they need to improve their emergency shut-off valves at the ocean floor and they know which method has the most chance of success to plug the “d**n” hole.

Drill baby drill!

WashJeff on May 28, 2010 at 11:07 AM

CNN is ready to cover Obama’s big visit now.

Carville was on the other day saying that once the Messiah saw the true effects of the oil spill, he would take massive action and this would be his finest hour. It’s too bad when he gets the 3 AM phone call and he answers it 480 hours later, albeit in spectacular fashion. Carville failed to explain how if Obama’s the smartest person in the world, how could he not know how bad the spill was. Apparently, his inability to use technology applies to television as well.

Canadian Infidel on May 28, 2010 at 11:08 AM

Seems to me that’s a predictable reaction, at least in the short term, given the horrific scope of the disaster and the incompetence revealed both at the oil company and the Obama Administration.

But those are rectifiable problems and don’t mean that offshore drilling per se should be abandoned. (Thought try telling that to my fellow Californians who live along the coast. Argh.) Most people are reasonable and the case for drilling can be made, but advocates have to emphasize a) our overriding needs; b) the lower standards elsewhere (our standards weren’t bad, they just weren’t enforced); and c) the specific problems that lead to this mess and the fact that they can be fixed. (Oh, and that this makes a good case for loosening the bans on on-shore and near-shore drilling.)

Besides, this mood will only last until gas hit $4 per gallon again.

irishspy on May 28, 2010 at 11:10 AM

What I find troubling is that if the Top-Kill Method
was the way to go,and only took a few days to seal it,
then why was there pussy-footing around for over 5 weeks!!

The Obama Administration claimed in yesterdays press con
ference that they were on the job since day 1,so,was Team
Hopey micro-managing the entire project,and going step-by
-step worried about environmental impact at every stage,
basically hamstring BP!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:10 AM

Carville failed to explain how if Obama’s the smartest person in the world, how could he not know how bad the spill was.

You can’t be spinning Carville as a pro-Obama hack after all he’s been saying about him the past week.

YYZ on May 28, 2010 at 11:11 AM

So Clinton was the person offering the job? So what authority would he have to do this without permission from Obama? I’m sure they will use this as their out.”We didn’t know anything about this. He’s not part of our administration. End of story.”

sandee on May 28, 2010 at 11:12 AM

I wonder what the people will say after they know the truth?

Anybody know why the Rig waivers were given? Was MMS the Obama campaign payoff window for big oil?

tarpon on May 28, 2010 at 11:12 AM

OT: Well the go between between Sestak and White House is.. none other than “Slick Willie” Clinton. This is just breaking.

Dire Straits on May 28, 2010 at 11:06 AM

Dire Straits: I heard that early,the plot thickens!:)

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM

“Drill Baby, Drill advocates”? Ed I hope you are one of those advocates. With your body mass you don’t come across as the bike riding type. Easy to shy away from developing our own resources as this disaster is in progress, but to follow through with the idea that we can survive without drilling is just idiotic. This is more reactionary and seems like easy blog material but so will the outrage over higher gas prices. Just wait a few months and you can write that post also.

chief on May 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Usual pathetic HA bunched-up panties hysteria.
When oil gets up to $100/barrel and gas soars over $4/gallon, they’ll all be crying for the rigs to show up.

TexasJew on May 28, 2010 at 10:59 AM

Apparently the American people are ridiculously short-sighted utopians. I guess the Left is winning.

misterpeasea on May 28, 2010 at 11:16 AM

Idiots. Old tech can’t be banned until new tech exists to replace it.
 
Hey, maybe we could use solar panels to drill some on-shore wells… Oh, wait, nevermind. I forgot that the drills can’t bore through rock using feelgood socio-environmental pap.

rogerb on May 28, 2010 at 11:19 AM

Wait til we have to wait in line at the pumps like the ’70′s and there are rolling blackouts in the dead of winter or po’ folks get free heating oil from Hugo. It’ll be more popular then but may be too late.

Kissmygrits on May 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

AnninCA on May 28, 2010 at 11:00 AM

Tell the good folks in North Dakota that the oil industry is slowly getting killed off. Their state, last year, passed Louisiana in oil production, and is scheduled to surpass California by the end of this year. Thank the 2008 runup in oil prices for providing the initial capital to help spur this oil development.

You should take a drive to Williston and Dickinson sometimes, Ed, and see for yourself.

BradSchwartze on May 28, 2010 at 11:21 AM

You know who this helps? The foreign oil companies already drilling off of our southern coast. Now, they have less competition for oil extraction. Isn’t that swell!

KickandSwimMom on May 28, 2010 at 11:23 AM

Heres the exchange with Carville on the dispersants
on May 22 2010,that BP had the go ahead,then told,to
find a less toxic dispersant,again,sounds alot like
worrying from the White House aboust the appearance
of more harm done,while the “CRISIS” continues!!!!
========================================================

James Carville On Obama’s Response to Oil Spill

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hQuXxlyAo74

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:26 AM

No risk, no reward. But then, you have to have taken an economics course to understand that concept.

search4truth on May 28, 2010 at 11:28 AM

The onset of five to six dollar gasoline should bring back drill baby drill.

rhombus on May 28, 2010 at 11:29 AM

Don’t you wingnuts know we need to invest in alternative fuels!!!! You know, like the windmills that provide the Netherlands with about 3% of their electricity, and the solar panels that only cost thousands per household, and uh, uh …

BuzzCrutcher on May 28, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Fn obamugabe won’t be satisfied till unemployment is 50% and gas is 10.00/gallon and our standard of living is like that of Kenya.

You see the way he will bring parity to his “Bro in the shack”
Is to bring our standard of living equal to his.

TheSitRep on May 28, 2010 at 11:34 AM

You can’t be spinning Carville as a pro-Obama hack after all he’s been saying about him the past week.

YYZ on May 28, 2010 at 11:11 AM

Carville has been great the last week saying how ineffective the government has been BUT he is still saying that Obama was somehow being kept in the dark about the seriousness of the situation by BP. And he made the comment about this about to be Obama’s finest hour once he makes his second visit and realizes the seriousness of the spill during Wolf’s show.

Canadian Infidel on May 28, 2010 at 11:36 AM

Obama wants to control your lifestyle.

The war on oil companies is a war on prosperity and liberty.

Inanemergencydial on May 28, 2010 at 11:03 AM

Inanemergencydial:It evident,that hes a talker,not a doer!:)

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:38 AM

Who wants to start up the conspiracy theory that Obama has stumbled and slowed in the stopping and clean up of the spill on purpose to kill off the drilling….and now, unfortunately for Obama, this Frankenstein monster oil spill has gotten out of hand and will come back to get him…

albill on May 28, 2010 at 11:39 AM

Um, right. Get back to me, when the typical 0bama voting moron figures out, that less supply, means higher prices…driving, heating, cooling…everything.

All while we’re tetering on the edge, financially.

MNHawk on May 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Update: Several commenters are making a good point about changing the dynamic on where to drill, rather than whether to drill. This kind of problem wouldn’t have occurred in ANWR or in the shale areas of the US. When the public resistance ebbs, that will be a good argument to make.

Let me add to that a little bit.

There is a distinction between “offshore drilling” and “deepwater offshore drilling”.

The safety record for drilling offshore in waters of a depth of 150 ft or less is really very good.

This well is 5,000ft below the surface, well out of reach of any divers and all but the most extreme submersible craft.

The physics of the pressures involved around the well head are different as well.

This may be able to penetrate the public opinion, if the corrupt media allow anyone to say it.

Since Obama has halted all offshore production, it seems obvious that fuel prices will go up, especially if there is any economic recovery that enables more summertime traveling among Americans.

In addition to that, the NOAA National Hurricane Center has issued their predictions for the 2010 season, and they are saying it will be an above average year for tropical weather activity. They are even bringing up the season of 2005 as the high end of the range of possibility. That will complicate Gulf energy production as well. Not just for oil, but the refined fuels that are produced in Texas and south Louisiana refineries, and natural gas that comes from the Gulf platforms too.

This will be an interesting summer, to say the least.

People want affordable energy, and a spike in prices will affect public opinion sharply.

Brian1972 on May 28, 2010 at 11:42 AM

When the public resistance ebbs, that will be a good argument to make.

Don’t worry. The next time gas hits $4.00 a gallon resistance will ebb. It’s depressing to realize how stupid and shortsighted my fellow man is, but at least he’s predictable.

DFCtomm on May 28, 2010 at 11:45 AM

All while we’re tetering on the edge, financially.

MNHawk on May 28, 2010 at 11:40 AM

Don’t worry, we can file chapt 7 or 11 at the World Court, the IMF can guide us out of the mess.

Don’t you see that the world government is there to catch us?

Inanemergencydial on May 28, 2010 at 11:46 AM

Anybody hear about this!!
===============================

BREAKING: 7 Activists Arrested in Anti-Drilling Protest, but BP Goes Free?!
==========================================

(CNN) — Seven members of the environmental group Greenpeace were arrested Monday after protesting at a private ship that the group says is scheduled to depart for Alaska this summer as part of a drilling mission.

The group said it was sending a message to Interior Secretary Ken Salazar to ban new drilling in the Arctic or any U.S. waters. The ship was docked at Port Fourchon, Louisiana, near the site of the massive BP oil spill that for more than a month has been gushing thousands of barrels of oil daily into the Gulf of Mexico

The seven arrested, between ages 24 and 32, face unauthorized entry charges of a critical infrastructure and an inhabited dwelling, according to the Lafourche Parish County Sheriff’s Department. They could face additional charges pending an investigation into the incident, authorities said.

http://current.com/news/92453056_breaking-7-activists-arrested-in-anti-drilling-protest-but-bp-goes-free.htm
==========================================================
So like the Gay Activists who chained themselves to a fence,
and journalisrs were warned of arrest if they didn’t leave,

this Environmental Protest,was silenced,I never heard about
this!!!!

canopfor on May 28, 2010 at 11:50 AM

This kind of problem wouldn’t have occurred in ANWR or in the shale areas of the US. When the public resistance ebbs, that will be a good argument to make.

The shale areas like Utah, Wyoming, and parts of Colorado and ND. Why do you think Clinton and now the Zero have written executive orders to grab more land out there to make them monuments? Can these EO’s be repealed by some smart president?

Mirimichi on May 28, 2010 at 11:57 AM

Well, alrighty then! Who’s up for an “energy crisis” a la Jimmy Carter? Because I suspect we’ll have one before Obama leaves office; how fast I don’t know.

Aitch748 on May 28, 2010 at 11:59 AM

Please, continue to drill and build more nuclear power plants.

SC.Charlie on May 28, 2010 at 12:21 PM

I wish all of the democrats who love to demonize the oil companies would put their money where their mouth is and stop using oil.

They can have their rickshaws and there will be plenty of oil for the rest of us.

cntrlfrk on May 28, 2010 at 12:30 PM

Gasoline prices have remained somewhat steady for the last year. Juggling between 2.50 and 2.75 a gallon here where I live, and I am sure most places have the same steady prices. At some point in the near future though, prices will spike again, and environment will drop and energy will spike. If you are a politician, you may go with the flow, but I think Americans are more awake than ever before and when prices go up, they will know which ones supported energy when it was out of vogue and keep them in power and those who supported environment when it was in vogue will find few voters.

astonerii on May 28, 2010 at 12:37 PM

You’ll see that chart change direction when gasoline prices SKYROCKET!

GarandFan on May 28, 2010 at 12:57 PM

Right. When 5 bucks per gallon comes, the environmental lunatics will be in retreat.

Everyone relies on Big Oil!

Captain America on May 28, 2010 at 12:59 PM

Like others have already said .Ask this question when gas is 5$ a gal.About 30% of the people in this country don,t even know what day of the week it is.They think Obama is God and when you die you go to D.C.

thmcbb on May 28, 2010 at 1:12 PM

Anyone still questioning why Bambi shuffled his feet as regards the spill?Two years ago he said “I see no problem with $4.00/gal gasoline”.His puppetmasters want the price of oil in the stratosphere,and they knew how the American Sheeple would respond.
We all know that drilling can be done without the problems caused by this spill,but the weenies will never see the realities of energy independence.
Of course,we won’t have to worry about energy independence because Government Motors has solved the problem with the Volt./sarc

DDT on May 28, 2010 at 1:37 PM

Gas at $4: DRILL

Gas at $2.50: Save the whales

Gas at $6: Better start the f**k drilling or I’m coming after you with a pitchfork and torch Barry.

angryed on May 28, 2010 at 2:57 PM

I find the “Drill Baby Drill” slogan hugely annoying, particularly in light of how devastating the oil spill is. Oceanic wildlife is in serious peril, and the damage to the coast is real. To talk about the need for domestic oil is one thing. But don’t be cutesy, folksy queer, and sexually suggestive about it. Don’t be flip. STFU with the “Drill Baby Drill” thing and state the need for domestic oil production in legitimate terms.

tartan on May 28, 2010 at 3:09 PM

If Korea or the Middle East erupt into war, the impetus to drill baby drill will take off like wildfire. Only then, it might be too late.

RebeccaH on May 28, 2010 at 5:06 PM

five, baby, five … dollar per gallon gas.

chris999 on May 28, 2010 at 5:44 PM