Sunday, July 27, 2008

Americans Don't Believe Bush, Industry Claims on Gas Prices, Poll Shows

Majority Says New Drilling Would Enrich Oil Companies Rather than Benefit Consumers, and 76 Percent Support New Technology Development Over Drilling

WASHINGTON, PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The American public is not buying the arguments of President Bush and the oil industry that new drilling will lower gas prices, a new poll finds. Despite a well-funded campaign to convince lawmakers to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska and the offshore waters of the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling, and to allow new oil shale projects in the Rocky Mountain West, a majority (54%) of Americans do not see more drilling as a solution to high gas prices. Instead, the public overwhelmingly believes (76% to 19%) that policymakers should focus on investing in new energy technologies including renewable fuels and more efficient vehicles rather than expanding exploration and drilling for more oil. These findings were reported in a national poll conducted over the past week by Belden Russonello and Stewart, and released today.

A significant majority of Americans (63%) said that the Presidents proposal to open up public lands to oil and gas drilling is more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers. A substantial majority (66%) said that the small percentage of public lands still protected from oil drilling should remain off limits because they are valuable natural resources that cannot be replaced.

When asked the question, Do you think that allowing oil companies to drill in public lands and offshore areas that are currently off limits to drilling will result in lower gas prices for American consumers or not?, 54% of poll respondents said they did not believe more drilling would lower gas prices. Although Americans were initially divided on a general question of opening protected public lands and offshore areas to drilling, with a slight majority (53%) in favor, and 41% opposed, the poll found that support for drilling weakened significantly when those polled were presented with other energy policy options. When asked the question: Looking to the future, which one of the following do you think should be a more important priority for government: Investing in new energy technology including renewable fuels and more efficient automobiles, or expanding exploration and drilling for more oil?, more than three-quarters (76%) of respondents favored new technology and renewables, and only a small number (19%) favored expanded oil drilling.

The poll, conducted by Washington, D.C., research firm Belden Russonello & Stewart, was a nationally representative telephone survey of 821 adults between July 16 and 20, 2008. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level. A copy of the complete survey is here: PDF FILE


Anonymous said...

Those who raise gas prices are already killing our children. Take back our country! Acquire the Red Alert Newsletter.

The Wilderness Society said...

Hi there,

Thanks for picking up our poll! Here at The Wilderness Society, we’ve been compiling quite a lot of info that you might find useful for a future post. Hopefully we can talk a little more about the opportunities via email (Andrew_Peters ‘at’ I’m looking forward to hearing from you.

In the meantime, you might want to check out a couple links: