Wednesday, August 05, 2009

What Do Californians Really Think About Drilling?

Last week we posted about CalBuzz's report on the PPIC poll that revealed broad statewide support for offshore drilling. CalBuzz has a follow-up to that report today that seeks to invalidate the survey's results by wrapping a gut instinct theory inside a aggressive defense of pollster Mark Baldassare as a stand up guy.

If that last sentence sounds a bit tortured, it is. So is the line of argument in the CalBuzz piece, but I'm not saying it's wrong. Jerry Roberts and Phil Trounstine have been around the block a few thousand times, so underestimate their instinct at your peril.

Net-net, they argue that in the PPIC poll the issue of offshore drilling was put to voters as part of series of energy policy questions that focused heavily on meeting energy needs and reducing our national dependence on foreign oil. In that context, support for drilling is not that surprising.

However, Roberts & Trounstine posit the theory that most Californians consider offshore drilling an environmental issue and-- had the question been posed in an environmental context-- the results likely would have been strikingly different. Bottom line, they argue, if you are a candidate for statewide office, you could still get your head handed to you if come out in support of drilling.

The post is interesting and probably pretty accurate.

Polling on Offshore Drilling: Energy or Environment? [CalBuzz]