Enthusiasm for "Drill Baby Drill" slipping in wake of Gulf spill

The good news: drilling offshore for American crude still retains majority support from likely voters.  The bad news: that support has dropped six points in two weeks, and 14 in a month.  Rasmussen’s latest survey on the question finds increasing disapproval for both Barack Obama and BP in their response to the Deepwater Horizon spill, and that’s not likely to improve any time soon:

As the battle to contain the massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico goes on, most voters continue to favor offshore oil drilling, but that support is down. Voters also remain critical of how President Obama and the companies involved are responding to the disaster.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 58% of U.S. voters continue to believe offshore oil drilling should be allowed, down six points from two weeks ago.  Twenty percent (20%) disagree and oppose offshore drilling. Another 21% are undecided. …

Thirty-eight percent (38%) of voters now rate the president’s handling of the offshore drilling incident as good or excellent, up four points from two weeks ago but still down from the 43% who held that view just after the leak erupted. Thirty-four percent (34%) say the president is doing a poor job, little changed from the previous survey but up eight points from early May.

Twenty-three percent (23%) give British Petroleum (BP) and Transocean, the private companies associated with the leak, good or excellent marks for their response to the incident. Forty-one percent (41%) say they’re doing a poor job. This is largely the same as two weeks ago. But in early May, 29% said the companies’ response had been good or excellent, while 28% rated it poor.

In early May, support for off-shore drilling was at 72%, but that was before a series of failures to control the Gulf spill made the news.  Still, by almost any measure, support for drilling is nearly a consensus in the US.  It leads opposition by 38 points, 58/20.  It also leads every age demographic by majorities, leads every ethnicity demo, every income demo, and even each partisan identification demo.  The only opposition to off-shore drilling comes from self-described liberals with a bare 31/39 (the reverse of Democrats, by the way), and the “political class”, 41/43.

However, that doesn’t mean that voters are sanguine about the response to this spill.  Fifty-nine percent of voters rate Obama’s response as either fair or poor, compared to 38% who rate it good or excellent.  BP gets only 23% approval on their response, with 63% rating it only fair or poor.  Obama gets a 31/67 from independent voters, and except for a 57/39 from 18-29YO voters, loses all of the age demographics by wide majorities.

People are quite obviously unhappy with the failure to control the blowout after more than five weeks, and that has them considering the impact of drilling on the environment.  Sixty-four percent have significant concerns about environmental damage from off-shore drilling, including 44% of Republicans and 62% of independents.  Except for a near-split among thirtysomethings, every age demographic has wide majorities concerned about damage from drilling, as are all income demographics.

While support for drilling still seems to be a consensus, the underlying enthusiasm seems weakened.  If this well continues to spew oil uncontrollably for the next three months while BP drills its relief wells, those numbers may look entirely different by the end of the summer.