It’s a poll of adults, not registered or likely voters, but there’s no reason to doubt the trend. A Gallup poll taken last week showed a double-digit reversal in just two months between whether energy production or the environment should be a higher priority for America. A Quinnipiac poll from mid-May showed 53 percent support for continuing offshore drilling, but that was before “top kill” failed. Now, per CBS, the majority is pointing the other way.
With oil continuing to stream into the Gulf, a majority of Americans – 51 percent — say the costs and risks of increased offshore drilling are too great, according to a new CBS News poll.
That’s ten points higher than one month ago and an increase of 23 points from a poll taken in August 2008, when Republican rallies regularly broke out in chants of “drill, baby, drill.”
In the new poll, 40 percent said they favor increased offshore drilling. That’s a drop of five points from last week and 22 points from August 2008…
Americans increasingly see the oil spill not as an isolated incident but rather part of a broader problem with offshore drilling. Last month, 51 percent saw the spill as an isolated incident. That figure has now dropped to 45 percent. The percentage that see the spill as part of a broader problem, meanwhile, has increased ten percent to match that 45 percent figure.
The One’s approval on handling the spill is 38/44. Question: Is it worth putting any stock in these polls? They seem to be the purest form of public-opinion snapshots. When there’s an environmental crisis, support for drilling collapses; when there’s an energy crisis, it skyrockets. If things come to a head with Iran and suddenly gasoline’s six dollars a gallon, “drill, baby, drill” will be back to 70 percent in no time — which, er, won’t be much of a consolation when we’re paying six dollars a gallon. I guess the real question is how stable these numbers will be if BP’s containment dome works and the oil starts to trickle instead of to gush. Rough equilibrium, maybe? Pretty much every other issue is 50/50 anymore, so why not energy?
The best barometer of our new political reality isn’t a poll, though. It’s the fact that the Great Libertarian Hope and heir to the Paulnut throne is now going around saying things like, “I think we do have to have [drilling] regulations, and we do have regulations in place but apparently wasn’t enough.” No wonder Kentucky libertarians are looking at a third-party run! For your viewing pleasure, here’s his old man yesterday on Imus expressing a little sympathy for The One, who, despite promising America during the campaign that he would slow the rise of the oceans and heal the planet, is now discovering that government can’t do everything after all. Click the image to watch.