New data shows that support for offshore drilling has reached its lowest level ever in Rasmussen’s latest polling. Here’s how the GOP-friendly pollster** frames the latest data (emphasis mine):
With the deepwater oil leak apparently capped after three months of gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, support for both offshore oil drilling and drilling further out in deepwater remains largely unchanged. Most voters also remain concerned about the potential environmental impact of new drilling.
A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 56% of U.S. Voters now believe offshore oil drilling should be allowed, while 26% oppose it. One-in-five voters (19%) are undecided.
That’s down from 60% last month. Since the oil rig explosion that caused the massive oil leak, support for offshore drilling has ranged from 56% to 64%.
Predictably, Rasmussen leaves most of the useful information out of their analysis. In their polling immediately prior to the rig explosion in the Gulf, 72% of likely voters supported offshore drilling. Even with Rasmussen’s skewed likely voter model, this represents a 16% shift in just 11 weeks. The current level of support among likely voters, 56%, is the lowest ever recorded by Rasmussen for this question. Moreover, support among Democrats for offshore drilling has dropped from 54% in early April to just 29% in the latest poll. Support among Republicans remains relatively flat, down just 4%. GOP support for offshore drilling, at 82%, is actually up 8% from its low point in late May.
This chart shows the extent to which Democratic support for offshore drilling has plummeted and Republican support for the controversial practice has remained steady, in the wake of the disaster in the Gulf of Mexico.
As I’ve documented several times in recent months, the modern Republican party does not care at all about the environment. This represents an unprecedented political opportunity for Democrats, who could really put Republicans on the spot by putting forth a common sense energy and climate bill and forcing them to choose between polluting industries and the planet. In an example of profound political malpractice, though, it appears as if Democrats may end up squandering this opportunity.