Poll: Americans Don’t Think More Drilling Will Lower Gas Prices

  • Published on July 25th, 2008

The American public is not buying the arguments of President Bush and the oil industry that new drilling will lower gas prices, a new poll finds.1 Conducted over the last week by Belden Russonello and Stewart, the poll finds that despite the recent push to convince lawmakers to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge and the Outer Continental Shelf to drilling, and to allow new oil shale projects in the Rocky Mountain West, a majority (54%) of Americans do not see more drilling as a solution to high gas prices.

In fact, the poll finds, the public overwhelmingly believes (76% to 19%) that policymakers should focus on investing in new energy technologies including renewable fuels and more efficient vehicles rather than expanding exploration and drilling for more oil.

When asked the question: “Looking to the future, which one of the following do you think should be a more important priority for government: Investing in new energy technology including renewable fuels and more efficient automobiles, or expanding exploration and drilling for more oil?”, more than three-quarters of respondents favored new technology and renewables.

Additionally, a majority of Americans (63%) said that the President’s proposal to open up public lands to oil and gas drilling is “more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers.”

Of course, you should take this data with a grain of salt and be careful about the conclusions you draw from it. As indicated by the footnote, the margin of error in the poll is 3.5%, which indicates that the margin between the percentage of Americans that don’t think more drilling will reduce gas prices (54%), and the percentage of who Americans that do think more drilling will bring lower gas prices (46%) is virtually nil.

But the results do indicate that there is a significant portion of Americans who are not buying the rhetorical claims made by John McCain, George W. Bush, and other members of the “we must drill more now” club.

Other posts about oil prices and offshore drilling:

1. The poll was a nationally representative telephone survey of 821 adults between July 16 and 20, 2008. The margin of sampling error is ± 3.5 percentage points at a 95% confidence level

Photo Credit: mandj98 via flickr under a Creative Commons License

About the Author

is the founder of ecopolitology and the executive editor at LiveOAK Media, a media network about the politics of energy and the environment, green business, cleantech, and green living. When not reading, writing, thinking or talking about environmental politics with anyone who will listen, Tim spends his time skiing in Colorado's high country, hiking with his dog, and getting dirty in his vegetable garden.
  • Pingback: Why Oil Will Not Be the Wedge Issue Republicans Want it to Be : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • fornetti

    I do not believe this

  • Excellent! Godd news. I hope more people hear about this

  • Pingback: Most Chinese Say Pollution is a Big Problem and Should be Made a Top Priority : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • Pingback: Obama Pushes Back With Renewed Focus on Energy : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • Pingback: Why Liberals Should Be Happy That Barack Obama Changed His Position On Offshore Drilling for Oil : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • Pingback: A European Bounce for Candidate Obama : Red, Green, and Blue()

  • The globe is thanking those that oppose further drilling for oil. In my opinion gas prices SHOULD be kept high. We need to drive less and look toward greener options!!

  • Tim

    A refreshing poll, given that the media keeps saying American DO want to see more drilling. It amazes me that nobody seems to dispute the fact that we are in this fix because the world is running out of oil, yet people still want to guzzle fossil fuels for the next few years, instead of shifting to the renewable energy resources that are more clearly now than ever an inevitability. Also, this ANWR push is a racket. Oil companies are currently only using 20 of the 90 million productive acres of land they have on lease. We shouldn't drill more, but if we do, hit those areas up instead of ANWR or other sensitive coastal areas (see This Is Not a Drill).

  • Clearly some people don't understand how statistics work! All the polls you EVER see are based on a fairly small sample. You only need 1,024 representatively selected Americans to accurately reflect American opinion. For example, all those presidential polls you see are based on samples of this same size….In a phone poll, representation can be accomplished by randomly selecting phone numbers in different states, and calling at different times of the day so that you find different people at home. Sometimes, a pollster will ask you the ages of people in your household and not pursue the poll if that age group or gender/age group or whatever other distribution category they're using is full. Clearly a poll that looks at a larger sample is "more accurate", but the slight increase in predictive accuracy is vastly offset by the increased cost of a larger sample, so most polls stick with the smaller number.

  • Jim-

    To take your logic one step further, perhaps the article should read "424 Americans Don't Think More Drilling Will Lower Gas Prices," because, as I'm sure you remember, only 54% of those surveyed didn't think more drilling would lower gas prices.

    My point is that there has never been a poll put together that asked all 300,000,000 Americans a survey question – ever.

    The idea behind such polls, is that even though they are not asked of every single American, we are to assume that the sampling method used was representative of the larger population. And no, there is no guarantee that the numbers would come out the same – but that is why we have probabilities, likelihoods, statistical significance, etc.

    No poll is perfect, I will be the first one to agree with you on that. But the fact that this poll came out with this result is still newsworthy.

  • Jim

    Sorry let me add a correction, what I meant was until we can find a way to effectively use alternative energy all we have is oil. Not to mention you have a couple year wait for a 22,000 dollar Prius.

  • Jim

    Well considering there are over 300,000,000 people in the U.S and only 821 people were polled, something doesn't add up. So the article should say, "821 Americans." Secondly, obviously our dependence on oil is outstanding, so we need to try something. Everyone keeps saying we need alternative fuel, well go ahead! Until we find another source of energy all we have is oil, so we need to try something. These other countries have a stranglehold on us because of oil, so if we have the resources lets use them. Everyone blames Bush, but congress also has to approve, so blame the congressmen YOU voted in. Talk about ignorance, take a government class so you know how a government is run. Everything Bush does needs to be approved by congress.

  • Uncle B

    Drilling is a poor solution. Look first at where the real damage to the American economy was done. If the U.S. had chosen to be a moral people, and leaving Iraqi oil alone, and following Al Gore, decided to develop the South Western deserts, with the technology of the times, solar/thermal-molten sodium – electricity installations, for the same amount of money as that war cost, today, we would be tapping into the largest, renewable, sustainable, energy source the world has ever known. It would have paid every energy bill in the U.S.A. for maintenance fees only – FOREVER! It would be equal to an oil field that can NEVER run dry! Low cost electric power, and hydrogen gas for all!

    After the millions of murders, and billions of dollars, borrowed from our children’s futures and pissed away, with thousands of our own and others maimed and disfigured for life, millions of families utterly destroyed, ours and theirs, we are no closer to Iraqi oil production than the Iraqis are!

    The next time you hear a blithering idiot spoiled brat, drunken, drug addicted, sociopath, rich daddie’s Arabic saber dancing boy, stand at a microphone and threaten YOUR safety with someone ELSE’S weapons, remember what you lost America, remember, and weep!

  • Steve-

    I haven't seen the polls at "Zoby" or the "Liberal NY Times" but I am sure you are correct in your recounting of them.

    Despite what you might believe, I did not "come up with" this poll, nor did YAHoo have anything to do with finding these "BOZOS."

    If you doubt the validity of the survey, I suggest you read the report and find out as much about the survey methodology as you can. If you are then able to find any logical fallacies, inconsistencies, or any other reason to believe the data is invalid, then you should let me know and I would be happy to publish them.


  • Steve

    Where did YAHoo find these BOZOS for a poll. Every major polls from the wall street journal, Zoby, even the Liberal NY Times has found that over 76% of AMERICANS – that means Republicans – Dems and Inp. DO WANT TO DRILL FOR OUR OIL. You guys come up with some off the wall B.S. poll that nobody has ever heard about an expect us to believe the Bull.

  • It is actually surprising how many DO think it will lower prices. The ignorance is outstanding…

  • Phil