The People of America's Oil and Natural Gas Indusry

Poll: Most Americans Oppose the Moratorium

Jane Van Ryan

Jane Van Ryan
Posted July 15, 2010

Almost three-quarters of Americans oppose the administration's deepwater drilling ban, according to a new Bloomberg National Poll.

The poll, which was conducted July 9-12, found that 73 percent of Americans believe the moratorium is unnecessary, and they call the Deepwater Horizon tragedy a "freak accident."

Bloomberg reports the sentiment against the ban cuts across the political spectrum. 85 percent of Republicans oppose the drilling moratorium, as well as 73 percent of Independents and 65 percent of Democrats. Quoting one poll respondent, Ron Smallcomb of Mountaintop, Penn.: "This is crazy. If there's a plane crash you don't ground all the airlines and stop flying completely."

Most Americans also recognize that the tragedy was an accident. 80 percent of the respondents said BP should not be assessed penalties beyond paying for damages. "I totally expect them to pay for the damages done, but to ban BP or other companies from future drilling is ridiculous," said John P. Sennet of Middletown, Ohio. "I just don't understand the logic in that -- accidents happen."

The Natural Resources Committee in the U.S. House of Representatives has approved an amendment that would prevent BP from holding new U.S. offshore leases in the future.

The Bloomberg poll also found that only about one-third of respondents say they are less supportive of drilling than a few months ago. When asked who was to blame for the faulty well, 44 percent blamed BP, 19 percent blamed lax federal regulations and oversight, and one in five said no one was to blame.

The Bloomberg National Poll is based on interviews with 1,004 U.S. adults ages 18 or older. The complete poll results are available here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Jane Van Ryan was formerly senior communications manager and new media advisor at the American Petroleum Institute (API), where she wrote blog posts and produced podcasts and videos. Before coming to API, Jane managed communications for a large science and engineering corporation, and for a top-tier research and engineering university. A few years ago, you might have seen her in your living room when she delivered the news on television. Jane officially retired from API in 2011 and now freelances as an independent communications consultant when not gardening at her farm in Virginia.