Skip to comments.Poll: Majority in U.S. oppose ANWR drilling
Posted on 12/23/2004 7:50:56 PM PST by MissouriConservative
WASHINGTON--Environmental groups warned Congress on Tuesday with poll numbers that claim a majority of Americans oppose oil drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Zogby International, a polling firm hired by the groups, said 55 percent of Americans said "no" when asked whether oil companies should be allowed to drill in ANWR.
"Congress should take notice of these numbers," stated Jim Waltman, director of refuges and wildlife programs at The Wilderness Society, in a news release. "Members of Congress need to ask themselves, 'Whose side am I on? Am I on the side of the oil companies? Or do I side with the majority of Americans who want the Arctic refuge protected?'"
Congress begins a new session Jan. 4. Alaska's members have said they hope to change the law next year to allow drilling in the 1.5 million-acre ANWR coastal plain.
Kevin Hand, executive director of the pro-drilling group Arctic Power, said it's difficult to read much into polls such as that commissioned by the environmental groups. Arctic Power hasn't done any recent polling, but past efforts have found that 55 percent of Americans aren't even sure what ANWR is, he said.
"They mostly know the bumper sticker items--'six months of oil, we're going to rape and pillage the caribou'--that sort of thing," he said. "But when the average American is informed on the issue, they definitely support (drilling) and we have polls that reflect that."
Hand wouldn't offer a detailed critique of the Zogby poll, but said some of the questions seemed leading.
The ANWR questions were part of a more lengthy Zogby poll, on which the environmental groups piggybacked. The firm queried 1,200 people by telephone.
The first ANWR-related question was the eighth in the poll, according to an analysis released by Zogby.
Previous questions were not released and Pete Rafle, spokesman for The Wilderness Society, said he did not know what they were.
The eighth question was multiple choice, asking participants to name "the best way to reduce U.S. dependence on foreign oil." Forty-one percent said expand wind, solar and ethanol while relying less on petroleum. Thirty-nine percent said conserve more and develop more fuel-efficient cars. Seventeen percent said drill for more oil and gas "including areas within wildlife refuges."
The next question, again multiple choice, asked, "Do you think oil companies should be allowed to drill for oil in America's Arctic National Wildlife Refuge?" Fifty-five percent said do not allow drilling, 38 percent said allow it and 7 percent were not sure.
After that, Zogby pollsters read participants two statements summarizing ANWR arguments. The pro-drilling statement, with which 31 percent agreed, quoted no authority but stated foreign oil contributes to high prices and ANWR oil could reduce those.
The anti-drilling statement, a third longer, quotes the U.S. Department of Energy saying not enough oil exists in ANWR to change prices and quotes oil companies saying it would take a decade to develop. Fifty-nine percent agreed.
Ten percent were either not sure or disagreed with both statements.
The next question asked participants to agree or disagree in varying degrees to the assertion that, "Congress is spending too much time trying to open (ANWR) to oil drilling as a payback to the oil companies for their campaign contributions, instead of focusing their attention on more important issues like keeping us safe, providing affordable health care and strengthening the economy."
Overall, 65 percent agreed and 27 percent disagreed, with 9 percent unsure.
Rafle defended the language.
"We work pretty hard to make sure that we're doing this as even-handedly as we can and use the arguments that each side is using," he said.
"There are lots of things that you ask in polls where you're looking to refine the way you talk about issues," he said. But the "bottom line" is that the "current poll finds a solid majority of Americans would like the refuge to stay the way it is."
Lexi Keogh, spokeswoman for the Alaska Wilderness League in Washington, D.C., said the poll results match earlier, independent polls, including a November 2002 poll by CBS News.
"The numbers are almost exactly the same," she said.
ANWR was originally designated the Arctic National Wildlife Range in 1960. In 1980, Congress expanded its southern and western boundaries and set aside the coastal plain for study of its wilderness values and petroleum potential.
The U.S. Geological Survey in 1998 said the federal land in the ANWR coastal plain would produce, as a mean estimate, about 5.2 billion barrels of oil at prices of $26.20. The Alaska Department of Revenue said this month that the oil could add $500 million a year to the state's income by 2024, assuming royalties are split 50-50 with the federal government.
A Department of the Interior biological review in 2002 concluded the most likely development scenario, with disturbance limited to the oil-rich western part of the plain, would cut June caribou calf survival by an average of about 1 percent.
Critics of that analysis said the negative effects on caribou could extend well beyond June if oil work displaces the cows and calves, which tend to avoid roads and pipelines, from the coastal areas of the western plains where they often go in mid-summer to escape biting insects.
This is the same Zogby who blew the election night polls. Who will ever believe this moron again?
I say drill it any way. Screw Zaney and weird polls.
If we want oil we have to drill for it. Here or elsewhere. Me, I prefer we use our own.
Zogby is no longer a legitimate pollster. Stories about Zog. polls should be generally ignored.
They didn't poll me, I support it.
Zogby? Who is that? And what an odd name for a pollster.
Merry Christmas to Our Troops
I heard that they didn't "poll" any residents of ALASKA either !!!!!!!!!!
Advertising executives have known for years... polls don't reflect reality, they reflect the success of advertising.
The news media knows, polls don't reflect reality, they reflect the success of their campaigns to brainwash people.
One of the best ways to move a poll, is to publish a poll citing the opinion you want to reflect. It is called "the bandwagon effect". People join popular opinions...
The more leverage these countries that breed and harbor terrorist have over our need for oil, the more likely the war against them will be compromised.
Oil profits funds their radicalism and keeps us from using heavy handed tactics to achieve our objectives.
They need to hold off drilling for a year to allow me to establish residency in Alaska so then the Dividend Fund goes up and I'll be able to collect more money....lol
I wonder what % of Americans even know what the hell ANWAR is? I bet the questions were as loaded as Hillary's a$$.
I don't care if 100% are against it.
Bush needs to lead.
Well, CBS News, now that's compelling.
Compelling me to dismiss this Zogby propaganda.
The caribou and I say drill.
Let's see... A poll by a lefty pollster, commissioned by an environMENTAL group - why would anybody doubt the results?
I don't care whether they drill ANWAR as long as they drill and exploit the hundreds of years of oil that is in California first.
I wish I could replace all the natural gas that has been taken from the oil platforms and stopped most of the natural oil seepage in California so the beaches would be again awash in tar like they were 60 years ago and make the enviros scream for drilling to clean up the beaches!
Arctic Power hasn't done any recent polling, but past efforts have found that 55 percent of Americans aren't even sure what ANWR is, he said.
55 percent sounds low to me. 75 per cent wouldn't have surprised me. I recently read an article that told of an elementary school TEACHER who thought Alaska was an island because it is always appears that way on maps of the USA, like Hawaii does.
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