Exclusive: New Poll from FamilySecurityMatters.org: Voters Overwhelmingly Demand Independence from Foreign Oil; Favor Domestic Drilling

by THE EDITORS June 19, 2008

A recent telephone survey of 1,000 likely voters nationwide by the polling companyTM, inc. on behalf of FamilySecurityMatters.org shows that by nearly a 4-to-1 margin, Americans favor increasing domestic oil drilling (77% support; 18% oppose).

Moreover, 61% of respondents strongly backed tapping into U.S. oil reserves, and majorities from every demographic group surveyed backed domestic drilling, including 91% of Republicans, 73% of Independents and 67% of Democrats.

"These results show that Americans demand common-sense energy policies that both improve our national security by lessening our dependence on the oil provided by countries potentially hostile to American interests and lower gas prices for American families," said Carol Taber, President of FamilySecurityMatters.org, which commissioned the poll.

These sentiments were echoed in a final question on the topic. When asked to choose between two competing arguments regarding drilling for oil in American waters, by a 3-to-1 margin, respondents strongly sided with the one in favor of U.S. drilling in the interest of national security and lower gas prices over environmental protection:

With which of the following opinions do you agree more?

PERSON 1: The United States should drill for oil off its own coasts. It is more important to reduce our dependence on foreign oil for reasons of national security and also for potentially lower gas prices than to preserve land or water for wildlife.

PERSON 2: The United States should not drill for oil off its own coasts. It is more important to preserve land and water for wildlife than to potentially lower gas prices or better protect our national security by depending less on foreign oil.

69% TOTAL AGREE PERSON 1 (NET)

47% STRONGLY AGREE PERSON 1

22% SOMEWHAT AGREE PERSON 1

21% TOTAL AGREE PERSON 2 (NET)

11% SOMEWHAT AGREE PERSON 2

10% STRONGLY AGREE PERSON 2

The news of these poll results comes on the heels of presidential candidate Sen. John McCain calling for an end to the ban on offshore drilling. "We have proven oil reserves of at least 21 billion barrels in the United States. But a broad federal moratorium stands in the way of energy exploration and production. And I believe it is time for the federal government to lift these restrictions and to put our own reserves to use." (However, McCain is still against drilling in ANWR.) In a comment critical of Sen. Barack Obama's stance on oil, McCain also said, "He says that high oil prices are not the problem, but only that they rose too quickly. He doesn't support new domestic production. He doesn't support new nuclear plants. He doesn't support more traditional use of coal, either."

This was partially in response to a comment from Obama last week in which he surmised that Americans' anger over gasoline prices was due to the fact that the increase happened quickly rather than gradually:

"I think that I would have preferred a gradual adjustment," Obama said. "The fact that this is such a shock to American pocketbooks is not a good thing. But if we take some steps right now to help people make the adjustment, first of all by putting more money into their pockets, but also by encouraging the market to adapt to these new circumstances more quickly, particularly U.S. automakers, then I think ultimately, we can come out of this stronger and have a more efficient energy policy than we do right now."

And, according to CNSNews, Obama's history regarding energy policy is not favorable toward domestic drilling: he co-sponsored at least 100 pieces of legislation that were supported by environmentalists, and has not only voted against drilling in ANWR but also has voted against an ANWR oil leasing scheme.

Furthermore, CNSNews highlighted the following segment from an Obama speech in Indianapolis in 2005:

"We could open up every square inch of America to drilling and we still wouldn't even make a dent in our oil dependency. We could open up ANWR today, and at its peak, which would be more than a decade from now, it would give us enough oil to take care of our transportation needs for about a month. Clearly, this is not a solution."

That was then, this is now. With the price of a gallon of gas at the pump averaging $4 (and even higher in some areas), will Obama change his tune?

President Bush has also joined with those who want to drill domestically, and yesterday outlined a proposal including an increase to access to the OCS (outer continental shelf); using oil shale; drilling in ANWR and expanding our refining capacity. He reminded us that much of the oil we currently import "comes from unstable regions and unfriendly regimes. This makes us more vulnerable to supply shocks and price spikes beyond our control, and that puts both our economy and security at risk."

We applaud both Sen. McCain and President Bush for putting American economic and security interests first and foremost in what has become a highly politicized issue. While finding viable alternative energy sources should remain a priority, we do not have time to wait for them to materialize. Today's oil extraction technology is much cleaner and more efficient than the days of yore. There is no reason why we cannot drill for domestic oil while preserving the environment.

We urge other political leaders to join Sen. McCain and President Bush, along with the American people, in putting American financial and national security before petty partisan bickering.

Brought to you by the research staff and editors of FamilySecurityMatters.org.


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