Politics & Government

Poll: Offshore oil drilling losing California voters' support

In the midst of the worst oil-spill disaster in U.S. history, California voters' opinion of allowing new drilling off their coast took a nose dive from two years ago, according to a Field Poll released today.

Voter support for drilling in state water began to slide 30 years ago, but the poll shows it plunged from 43 percent two years ago to only 31 percent today.

Sixty-one percent now oppose it, nearly a 2-1 ratio of opposition.

The last year that voter opinion for offshore oil drilling was as low as today was in 1990 – the year after the 1989 Exxon Valdez oil spill disaster in Alaska.

"Events seem to matter on this issue," said Field Poll Director Mark DiCamillo. "We're seeing a similar decline now after the Gulf of Mexico oil spill."

The poll found a partisan divide, however.

Three-fourths of Democrats are against new drilling, but a majority of Republicans – 52 percent – said they favored more.

More oil drilling was also supported by 59 percent of those who said they planned to vote this November for GOP candidates Meg Whitman for governor and Carly Fiorina for U.S. senator.

As the November election approaches, oil drilling "could become a big deal if the candidates are on different sides on this issue," DiCamillo said.

He noted that Fiorina has said she would support more drilling off California, while her opponent, Democratic Sen. Barbara Boxer, opposes it.

To read the complete article, visit www.sacbee.com.

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