Oil Spill More Noise Than Substance?
Three out of five (60%) Americans are still in favor of offshore drilling despite recent spill; more disapprove than approve with Obama’s handling of spill despite no change in his overall approval ratings
Wednesday, June 16, 2010
Washington, DC – 62% of Americans believe that offshore drilling is necessary so that America can produce its own energy and not depend on other countries for oil, according to a new telephone poll of over 1,000 adults conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. This compares to 32% who feel that offshore drilling is a bad idea because of the risks to the environment. These numbers are virtually unchanged from last month (60% vs. 35%), despite the increased coverage and environmental fallout from the spill.
- Republicans (77%) are more likely to say that drilling is needed for energy independence than are Democrats (50%), with Independents in between (63%)
When asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way President Obama is handling the spill, 33% approve and 41% disapprove, with about a quarter (26%) unsure
- Democrats are more likely to approve of Obama’s handling of the situation (51%) compared to Republicans (13%) – although around one in five of both groups remain unsure (26% and 21% respectively)
More broadly, 33% of Americans think that things in this country are headed in the right direction while 61% feel that they are off on the wrong track. These measures reflect no change in the percentage of Americans who feel the country is going in the right direction since Ipsos’ previous reading of the national mood in early May.
However, Obama’s job performance ratings have held steady over the past six months. Currently 50% of adults surveyed say that they approve of his job as President (down 2 points since early May) while 45% disapprove of it (up 2 points since May). These figures are nearly identical to those recorded in January 2010.
Looking ahead to the midterm elections, 43% of surveyed adults say that they plan on voting for the Democratic Congressional candidate in their district while 41% plan to vote for the Republican. Another 1% intend to vote for a third party candidate, 10% are unsure, and 5% do not plan on voting at all. This represents a small improvement for the Republicans compared to last month’s figures, which showed 46% planning to vote Democrat and 39% Republican.
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Among registered voters, it’s a closer call, with 42% saying they plan to vote Democratic and 43% Republican, while 11% are unsure (a jump from 8% last month). This represents a 1-point improvement on last month for the Republicans and a 3-point drop for the Democrats. Looking at voters in Democratic and Republican Congressional districts, the incumbent party retains (by a small minority) more than half of voters in Republican Congressional districts (51%) – but in Democratic Congressional districts, this has fallen slightly on last month with 46% saying they plan to vote for the Democratic candidate. Over a third (36%) of those in Republican districts plan on voting for the Democratic candidate while 38% of those in Democratic districts intend to vote Republican.
This poll also contained a single question on support or opposition to Israel’s actions in blockading ships bringing aid to Palestine for security reasons. Public opinion is evenly split, with 40% in support and the same proportion in opposition – and the remaining 20% unsure. This issue is clearly divided along party lines however, with less than a quarter (24%) of Democrats indicating support for Israel’s actions compared to almost three in five (58%) of Republicans supporting these actions.
These are some of the findings of an Ipsos poll conducted June 10-13, 2010. For the survey, a nationally representative, randomly selected sample of exactly 1,071 adults aged 18 and older across the United States was interviewed by Ipsos. With a sample of this size, the results are considered accurate within 3 percentage points, 19 times out of 20, of what they would have been had the entire adult population in the U.S. been polled. All sample surveys and polls may be subject to other sources of error, including, but not limited to coverage error, and measurement error. These data were weighted to ensure that the sample's composition reflects that of the actual U.S. population according to U.S. Census figures. Respondents had the option to be interviewed in English or Spanish.