Public Less Enthusiastic About Drilling

I’ve got a new piece up today looking back at 2008 and the expiration of the long-standing moratorium on offshore drilling. Basically, it’s a reminder that public pressure (egged on by the Republicans’ chants of “Drill, baby, drill”) succeeded in freaking out congressional Democrats, who let the 27-year-old ban on new drilling expire. Had that moratorium been renewed, we wouldn’t be caught up in such a grueling debate on the issue now.

But with millions of gallons of crude flooding the Gulf of Mexico, public opinion is changing. A new Rasmussen poll released Thursday finds that while the majority of the public still favors drilling, that majority is declining. Fifty-eight percent of voters believe offshore drilling should be allowed. But that’s down 14 points since the end of March, when Obama announced his plans to expand drilling. And while most still approve of drilling, 69 percent say they are “somewhat concerned” that offshore drilling may cause environmental problems. (Hmm, you think?)

The decline is across political parties, though Republicans are still much more enthusiastic about drilling than Democrats, with 77 percent favoring it. EnviroKnow put together a chart documenting public opinion on the subject dating back to June 2008:

More MotherJones reporting on Climate Desk

MORE HARD-HITTING JOURNALISM

In 2014, before Donald Trump announced his run for president, we knew we had to do something different to address the fundamental challenge facing journalism: how hard-hitting reporting that can hold the powerful accountable can survive as the bottom falls out of the news business.

Being a nonprofit, we started planning The Moment for Mother Jones, a special campaign to raise $25 million for key investments to make Mother Jones the strongest watchdog it can be. Five years later, readers have stepped up and contributed an astonishing $23 million in gifts and future pledges. This is an incredible statement from the Mother Jones community in the face of huge threats—both economic and political—against the free press.

Read more about The Moment and see what we've been able to accomplish thanks to readers' incredible generosity so far, and please join them today. Your gift will be matched dollar for dollar, up to $500,000 total, during this critical moment for journalism.

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our newsletters

Subscribe and we'll send Mother Jones straight to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate

We have a new comment system! We are now using Coral, from Vox Media, for comments on all new articles. We'd love your feedback.