Poll: Majority still supports offshore drilling

A public opinion poll released today found that a majority of Americans still support offshore drilling and that President Obama’s approval ratings have been largely unaffected by the BP oil spill.
The poll showed 57 percent of participants said they supported offshore drilling. That number has held steady for two weeks after dropping 7 percentage points from 64 percent support in a mid-May poll.
Scott Rasmussen, president of the polling firm Rasmussen Reports, said the numbers were consistent with American attitudes about oil and other sources of energy. “For years, when we’ve asked people, should American people be focused on conservation or for looking for new sources of energy, people always want to find new sources of energy,” Rasmussen said.
The poll also said the president’s approval rating has changed very little in roughly four months, staying at 46 or 47 percent, despite the poll’s finding that 45 percent of participants responding that the president had done a poor job handling the April 20 spill, up 11 percentage points from a June 1 poll.
Rasmussen called the results of the presidential approval poll “a little contrarian” because the numbers fly in the face of the idea that the spill is seriously hurting the President’s reputation.
“It may be true inside the Washington Beltway,” said Rasmussen. “But the president’s approval ratings have not gone down.”
The political math favored the status quo, he said. “Democrats still strongly support the president, and Republicans are strongly opposed,” said Rasmussen. “Unless voters within his own party turn against him, I don’t see (the President’s approval rating) changing any time soon.”
Rasmussen Reports surveyed 1,000 likely U.S. voters on June 13-14. The margin of sampling error is plus-or-minus 3 percentage points.
— Spencer Gaffney