augusta free press news

Drilling OK, but we don’t think it’ll do anything for us

Analysis by Chris Graham

A majority of Americans support opening public lands up to oil exploration-related drilling, but a bigger majority thinks the drilling will be more of a benefit to oil companies than to average consumers.

These were the rather mixed findings of a poll released today by the Washington, D.C.,-based research firm Belden Russonello and Stewart.

Fifty-three percent of those surveyed for the poll said they favored the Bush administration’s proposal to open up new drilling on public lands favored the proposal, a number that is in line with data from surveys done by Gallup and Rasmussen Reports earlier this year. Significantly, though, 54 percent of those surveyed for the Belden Russonello and Stewart poll said they do not see more drilling as the solution to high gas prices, 63 percent agreed with the statement that the proposal is “more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers,” and 76 percent said they think policymakers should focus on investing in new energy technologies rather than focusing on new drilling.

The survey of 821 adults with a margin of error of plus or minus 3.5 percent was conducted July 16-20.