Americans’ support for increased offshore drilling has declined significantly since the Deepwater Horizon incident in April, to the point that the public is now about evenly divided on the issue, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll. The poll also found that 50% are in favor and 46% opposed on increased drilling for oil and gas off US 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 US 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 US coastal areas. That number dipped to 60% in early May, shortly after the oil spill occurred.
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.