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Poll Reveals Floridians’ Bipartisan Support for Offshore Drilling

August 27, 2008

Associated Industries of Florida asks Washington to listen to constituents; support H.R. 6709

TALLAHASSEE – As discussion regarding domestic exploration for oil and natural gas off Florida’s coast grips the nation’s attention, new poll results today released by Associated Industries of Florida (AIF) demonstrate a significant increase in the percent of Floridians in favor of drilling off the state’s coast over the percent of those in favor this time last year.  The McLaughlin & Associates poll, conducted last week, concluded 73.2 percent of Floridians favor drilling for oil off the coast of Florida – a 10 percentage-point increase over the previous year’s poll results.  

Further, the results show bipartisan support of the issue with the majority of Florida Democrats (63 percent) and Republicans (84 percent) in favor.  Seventy percent of Independents were also in favor of offshore drilling.

“We have been polling this issue for more than two years and the numbers speak for themselves.  It doesn’t matter if you call yourself a conservative, a liberal or a moderate, the message Floridians are sending is consistently clear – we favor drilling, and the numbers just keep going up,” said Barney Bishop, president and CEO of AIF.  “Washington, this is your wake-up call.  Now is the time to break from traditional party lines and help alleviate our country’s dependence on foreign oil by listening to your constituents and their call for increased domestic oil exploration.”     

Support for drilling off of Florida’s shores was surprisingly high in the state’s Gulf coast regions.  Poll results show strong support for offshore drilling in the Ft. Myers area with an 89-percent approval rating and in the Pensacola area with an 88-percent approval rating.  Additionally, more than two-thirds (68 percent) of respondents in the Tampa/St. Petersburg area and three-quarters (75 percent) of respondents in the Panama City area were in favor of increased exploration for oil off Florida’s coasts. 

“Sadly, today’s announcement comes on the heals of the Florida Democratic National Convention delegation’s refusal to speak with Louisiana Sen. Mary Landrieu about her proposal to open new areas in the eastern Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic coasts to drilling,” said Bishop.  “If the citizens of our state can look past their political ideologies and party affiliations to support measures that can lead our nation to the promised land of energy independence, then shouldn’t our elected leaders?”

Recently, AIF sent letters to members of Florida’s Congressional delegation urging them to support of The National Conservation, Environment, and Energy Independence Act (H.R. 6709).  AIF believes this piece of bipartisan legislation will positively impact Florida’s business community.

If passed, H.R. 6709 permits the opening of additional areas of the Outer Continental Shelf (OCS) for exploration and production of oil and natural gas, and will utilize most federal revenue from any new production to help fund several environmental and conservation initiatives.  AIF is the first statewide business group to support opening up the Gulf for additional exploration and production of oil and natural gas, as well as endorsing the need for nuclear power and additional renewable sources of energy.

More details on the poll results and key cross tabulation analysis.