Three short months ago more than 60% of North Carolinians supported offshore drilling. Now a plurality of voters in the state oppose it. 46% express opposition to drilling off the coast of the state while 42% support it.
Public opinion has been shifting more and more against drilling with each passing month since the spill in the Gulf of Mexico. The April poll, pre-spill, showed only 26% of voters opposed to drilling. That increased to 38% in May, then 39% in June, and now 46% in July.
Compared to the April survey support for drilling has dropped 25 points with Democrats, 19 points with independents, and 14 points with Republicans. Where a majority of Democrats previously supported drilling they are now strongly opposed to it by a 27/58 margin. Independents are split almost evenly, 46/45, and 59% of GOP voters continue to support it.
It is unusual for public opinion on a particular issue to shift this rapidly in such a short period of time. But an event like the spill in the Gulf can have a major impact on people's thinking.
While opinion on drilling itself is still relatively divided, there's less ambiguity when it comes to whether voters buy into Republican Congressional candidate Bill Randall's theory that the oil spill was intentionally caused by the federal government. Only 11% of voters in the state believe that with 74% dismissing the idea and 15% saying they're not sure. Even among Republicans just 17% buy into that particular line of thinking.
Full results here