A poll done last month suggests that whatever the merits of the idea, most Americans agree with Republican John McCain about ending the federal ban on offshore oil drilling.
In the Gallup survey, 57 percent of respondents said they support oil drilling in coastal and wilderness areas now off-limits to exploration, while 41 percent said they were opposed. While Gallup did not have previous polls to measure the trend, rising gas prices and energy costs are almost certain to have built support for the idea.
Republicans were far more supportive, 80 percent, while independents were more evenly divided, with 56 percent in favor and 43 percent opposed. Democrats opposed the idea by a 59 percent to 39 percent margin.
Their presumptive nominee, Barack Obama, also opposes the idea, saying it would take years to produce oil offshore, would reward Big Oil, and would run counter to the need for clean energy. The two candidates have been battling on the issue all week, opening up another front in their general election battle.
About Political Intelligence
Glen Johnson is Politics Editor at boston.com and lead blogger for "Political Intelligence." He moved to Massachusetts in the fourth grade, and has covered local, state, and national politics for over 25 years. E-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @globeglen.