Last week’s reversal on offshore oil drilling by Barack Obama didn’t go over well with likely US voters, according to a new Rasmussen survey. Sixty percent support offshore drilling in principle, and 48% oppose the ban directly, with only 35% supporting Obama’s reversal. A majority expect economic damage and higher fuel prices as a result:
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 54% of Likely U.S. Voters believe the new seven-year ban will increase gas prices, while just 11% think it will make gas prices go down. Twenty-five percent (25%) expect the ban to have no impact on prices at the pump.
Alternate headline: 11% of likely voters don’t understand economics. How can limiting supply while demand remains constant or increasing result in lower prices for consumers? Do they expect a vast decrease of auto trips to the shore for the recreational activity of watching people drill for oil?
While most voters project problems from the continuing partial ban, they’re more narrowly divided on the decision itself. Thirty-five percent (35%) favor the seven-year ban on drilling in some offshore areas, while 48% oppose it. Seventeen percent (17%) are undecided.
Still, 60% continue to believe offshore oil drilling in general should be allowed. Twenty-two percent (22%) disagree and oppose such drilling. Eighteen percent (18%) are not sure.
The Obama administration announced an end to the ban in the first place because of political pressure and a stumbling economy. Gas prices have risen back into the $3 per gallon range this year despite the lack of economic growth. As those numbers climb, the pressure to drill will once again become enormous, especially since the Obama administration had already made that decision once.
That will play strongly with independent voters, the kind Obama needed to get elected the first time and now needs more than ever. Independents want offshore drilling by a 60/19 margin, with 83% of them following the issue somewhat or very closely — slightly higher than either party’s voters. They oppose the ban by a majority, 54/30, and a slightly higher majority of 58% believes it will harm the economy. For that matter, a majority of Democrats believe it will raise gas prices (57%), which in itself will harm the economy with compounded inflation for distribution channels, eroding consumer buying power.
Obama wants new offshore drilling stopped for the next seven years. I’d expect a reversal, at least partial, within the next two, or else the following four will be completely irrelevant to Obama as President.