A majority of North Carolina still supports offshore drilling

From the Civitas Institute:

A majority of North Carolina voters continue to support drilling for oil off the coast of North Carolina according to a new National Research Inc. poll released today by the Civitas Institute.

Photo by mike baird

According to the poll of 600 likely voters, 56 percent indicated their support for drilling off the state’s coast for oil and natural gas. Thirty-seven percent said they were opposed, and 7 percent said they didn’t know or had no opinion.

“North Carolina voters consistently support drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast,” said Civitas Institute Executive Director Francis De Luca. “They understand how it affects not only national security, but would be a tremendous economic benefit to the North Carolina economy.”

Additionally, despite the recent oil spill in the Gulf, there has been little change in support for offshore drilling. Only 12 percent of voters said they supported offshore drilling before the oil spill but now oppose it. Fifty-seven percent said the event has not affected their support while 24 percent said they were always opposed to drilling.

Seventy-four percent of voters would also be more likely to support offshore drilling if they knew that the deposits were mainly cleaner, safer natural gas, which does not cause environmental or safety problems of oil if there is a leak or spill. Sixteen percent said they would be less likely to support drilling efforts, and 4 percent said it would make no difference in their support.

“When voters are informed that the deposits off North Carolina are mostly natural gas, support for offshore exploration increases tremendously,” added De Luca.

Full Text of Questions

Do you support or oppose drilling for oil and natural gas off the coast of North Carolina?
Total Support – 56%
Total Oppose – 37%

Strongly Support – 32%
Somewhat Support – 23%
Somewhat Oppose – 11%
Strongly Oppose – 26%
Don’t Know/No Opinion – 7%

Which of the following best describes your opinion on offshore drilling:
Currently Support – 59%
Currently Oppose – 36%

I supported offshore drilling before the spill in the Gulf and I still support it today – 57%
I opposed offshore drilling before the spill in the Gulf but I support it today – 2%
I supported offshore drilling before the spill in the Gulf but I oppose it today – 12%
I opposed offshore drilling before the spill in the Gulf and I still oppose it today – 24%
Don’t Know – 4%

Would you be more or less likely to support offshore drilling off the coast of North Carolina if you knew that the deposits were mainly cleaner, safer natural gas which does not cause the environmental or safety problems of oil if there is a leak or spill?
Total More – 74%
Total Less – 16%

Much More – 42%
Somewhat More – 33%
Somewhat Less – 5%
Much Less – 11%
No Difference – 4%
Don’t Know – 5%

For full results and crosstabs from the poll, click here.

This poll of 600 likely general election voters in North Carolina was conducted May 20, 22-23 by National Research, Inc. of Holmdel, NJ. All respondents were part of a fully representative sample of registered voters in North Carolina. For purposes of this study, voters interviewed had to have voted in two of the past four general elections or were newly registered to vote since 2008. An additional screening question was asked to filter only those voters having some likelihood to vote in the upcoming 2010 election.

The confidence interval associated with a sample of this size is such that: 95 percent of the time, results from 600 interviews (registered voters) will be within +-4% of the “True Values.” True Values refer to the results obtained if it were possible to interview every person in North Carolina who had voted in two of the past four general elections or were newly registered to vote since 2008.

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