Offshore drilling continues to be very popular with North Carolina voters. More than 60% support it with just a little more than 20% in opposition.
It has wide bipartisan support. The major Democratic Senate candidates have come out against it, but that position is actually at odds with a majority of voters in their party. Roughly 58% of Democrats express support for it along with 70% of Republicans and 66% of independents.
Offshore drilling has seen an increase in its popularity even since the height of high gas prices in the summer of 2008 when we found 54% of North Carolinians in support of it and 26% opposed. There's a lot more support now from Democrats and independents, perhaps due to President Obama's recent statements on the issue.
This poll is a good example of how slight adjustments in question wording can affect the way people respond. We asked half of those polled simply if they supported 'drilling for oil off the coast of North Carolina' and the other half whether they supported 'President Obama's plan for drilling for oil off the coast of North Carolina.' Both question wordings produced support in excess of 60%, but they led to very different numbers by party. When the President's name was invoked support rose from 52% to 64% with Democrats. But it dropped from 73% to 66% with Republicans. Either is a perfectly reasonable way of asking the question but it shows how malleable public opinion can be.
President Obama's approval rating in North Carolina continues to hold steady, with 46% of voters giving him good marks and 50% dissenting.
Full results here