Poll: Americans Shift From Pro-Energy To Pro-Environment During Gulf Spill

May 27, 2010 10:54 am

When it comes to making environmental policy in the wake of the massive oil spill in the Gulf, Americans appear ready to embrace that old political adage, “let no crisis go to waste.”

According to a new poll from Gallup out this afternoon, “preferences for prioritizing between environmental protection and energy production have shifted from a somewhat pro-energy stance to an even stronger pro-environment stance” during the period of the oil spill.

In the new poll, 55% of respondents say “protection of the environment” should be given priority over energy production. Thirty-nine percent say the opposite. Back in March, the split went the other way — 50% prioritized energy production while 43% said environmental protection should come first.The shift is good news for progressives, who of late have called on Democrats to use rising public wariness toward offshore oil drilling to push conservation-focused energy legislation through Congress.

Obama has already announced temporary restrictions on drilling in the wake of the spill, but it remains to be seen if climate legislation — just one of several legislative priorities on the table before the midterm elections — will a push forward thanks to the developing disaster in the Gulf.

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