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Wednesday, June 08, 2005

New poll: Slim opposition to ANWR drilling

A Washington Post-ABC News public opinion poll released today shows that 49 percent of those polled oppose drillling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge, while 48 percent support drilling. Four percent in the poll had no opinion.

The survey randomly polled 1,002 Americans and mainly covers national security and political popularity issues. Just one question addresses ANWR, but these are the latest polling results on the subject nevertheless. The full poll results (.pdf file) include results of the same question asked in five previous Post-ABC polls. This comparison shows that the latest results produce the highest support yet for drilling, despite ongoing slim opposition. (The poll has a margin of error of 3 points).

To me, the declining opposition to drilling is a result of public unease over gas prices, and the masterful job that drilling supporters and politicians have done in convincing the public that ANWR oil will reduce prices and have little impact on the refuge (both fallacies). It also suggests that drilling opponents' campaign to save ANWR is not having a major impact on the public and needs to be stepped up significantly. In other words, the oil industry is still winning this battle.

As mentioned, the poll spends most of its time on more generic political issues, and it's worth reading for those results alone. The overall poll shows a striking loss of faith in Bush administration policies on many fronts, and in the Republican agenda overall.

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