Photo via WHYY
For the first time in recent memory, more Americans now oppose offshore drilling than support it, a recent CBS poll finds. Public opinion of offshore drilling has been plummeting in recent months (I'll leave it to you, dear reader, to infer why), from surprisingly high levels to still somewhat surprisingly not-so-low levels. Numbers and charts after the jump.
Images via CBS News
Obviously, more people are going to voice disapproval of an institution that is now in the midst of its biggest, deadliest disaster in US history. The oil continues spewing from the Gulf, and heading into the second month, the oil industry at large remains helpless to stop it. I reported before that popular opinion was in decline, but now that decline has finally put supporters of drilling in the minority -- for the time being.
Who's to say that in three months (hopefully, but not certainly, it will be done spewing by then), after the damage has been done and the cameramen pack up and head home, that opinion will inch its way back up, perhaps coerced by familiar calls to drill, baby, drill. This may especially be the case if BP manages to keeping the worst of the oil spill out of public sight.
Also interesting is the public's perception of the authorities' handling of the oil spill: the vast majority is not happy with BP, and the plurality's not pleased with Obama, either.
However, the challenge remains successfully channeling this surge of public support into a more sustainable energy policy -- into pricing carbon and leveling the playing field for clean energy technologies.