According to a new Bloomberg poll, American public opinion on the BP oil spill reflects common sense and a rejection of the Obama Administration's legalistic overreaction.
While public objections to a drilling ban echo the views of Republican leaders such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the sentiment is strong regardless of political leaning: 85 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and 65 percent of Democrats oppose a ban, according to the poll.
Jindal, whose state has been hardest hit by the spill, says a prohibition on drilling is an overreaction that will turn an “environmental disaster into an economic catastrophe,” costing as many as 20,000 jobs in Louisiana alone.
“We need the federal government to do their jobs to ensure drilling is done safely without killing thousands of jobs for our people,” Jindal said in a statement July h13.
But surely the affected Gulf Coast residents don't agree ... Do they?
[M]ost residents of the affected counties weren't turning their backs on offshore drilling. By 60-38 percent, they opposed the Obama administration's six-month moratorium on drilling (it got far more support nationally); and more, three-quarters, said drilling should resume at its existing level, or be expanded, in the future.
There was broad criticism of the federal government's spill response in the affected counties (72 percent rated it negatively), and even steeper criticism of BP (82 percent said it has done a bad job; this poll was completed before the new cap was in place). In sharp contrast, more than six in 10 residents rated their local and state governments' responses positively.
As angry as they may be at BP, Gulf Coast residents have the sense to realize that punishing the entire industry will ultimately cost the region good-paying jobs.
And Americans are grownups who realize that nothing is free. They know that by adopting an official national NIMBY policy, we are setting the stage for $8/gallon gasoline and a prostrate economy for the foreseeable future.