Poll: South Carolinians support offshore oil drilling

COLUMBIA, S.C. — South Carolinians overwhelmingly back more drilling off the U.S. coast, despite a belief that any oil found won't affect the price of gas for a half-dozen years.

That's one of the findings of a poll of likely voters conducted Sept. 28 through Oct. 19 for Winthrop University and ETV.

The views of South Carolinians -- 73.1 percent of whom back drilling in coastal areas now off-limits to oil exploration -- match those found in Virginia, where 70.2 percent favor more drilling, and in North Carolina, where 67.9 percent want to see the country drill more.

"The results of the Winthrop/ETV poll are not surprising to me," said U.S. Rep. Henry Brown, R-S.C., who raised some eyebrows in his Charleston-area district two years ago when he argued for drilling off the South Carolina coast. "Our dependence on foreign sources of energy must stop."

National polls have shown a large majority of Americans support increased drilling. Support for drilling drops sharply, however, when Americans are asked if they want pristine areas such as the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to be tapped for oil.

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