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Public Divided Over Increasing Offshore Drilling
June 2, 2010

Americans are divided over whether to increase offshore oil drilling, and a majority believes the risks outweigh the benefits, according to a new nationwide survey released recently by Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).

When asked specifically about the risk and benefit tradeoffs of offshore drilling, a 51 percent majority says the environmental risks outweigh the benefits; 35 percent think the benefits outweigh the environmental risks. However, opinion among the general population about increasing offshore oil drilling is currently divided with 45 percent in support of increasing offshore drilling and 44 percent opposed.

Views about offshore drilling are likely influenced by the major oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to the survey. The spill has been ongoing since an April 20th explosion aboard a drilling rig. The spill raises the specter of environmental risks from offshore drilling when the process goes awry.

The VCU Life Sciences Survey was conducted by landline and cell telephone with 1,001 adults nationwide from May 12th-18th, 2010. The margin of error for the poll is plus or minus 3.7 percentage points. This is the ninth VCU Life Sciences Survey, conducted for VCU Life Sciences by the VCU Center for Public Policy.

The entire report with complete questions and detailed tables of results is available here.

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