Poll: Support rises for offshore drilling

03 20, 2012 by POLITICO

Interest in alternative energy sources like wind and solar has waned among Americans over the last year, while support for offshore oil and gas drilling has climbed back up to pre-BP oil spill levels, according to a poll released Monday.

Fifty-two percent of those surveyed by the Pew Research Center support alternative energy, down 11 percent compared with March 2011. However, interest in developing oil, coal and natural gas resources rose by 10 percent, while the remainder to those who said they supported both or didn’t know.

Support for offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters has also recovered to its levels prior to the 2010 BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. Nearly two-thirds of those surveyed now favor allowing increased offshore drilling, up from 57 percent a year ago and 44 percent in June 2010, during the spill.

The partisan divide on renewable energy versus oil, coal and natural gas development has also become more pronounced over the last year.

Eighty-nine percent of Republicans favor allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling while only half of Democrats agree, according the survey. However, a 64 percent of independents support increased drilling off the U.S. coast.

As recently as April 2009, there were virtually no partisan differences in views of federal funding for research into alternative energy. But, according to the new survey, about 81 percent of Democrats and 70 percent of independents support increased federal funding for alternative energy, only 52 percent of Republicans agree.

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