On the 64th day of the nation’s worst environmental disaster, Americans’ opposition to offshore oil drilling continues to grow. Center for American Progress’s Daniel J. Weiss has the details:

A CNN/Opinion Research Corp. poll of adults taken on June 16, the day after President Obama’s Oval Office energy address, found an 18 percent swing towards opposition to increased drilling compared to a similar poll taken three wakes ago. The survey of 534 adults had a margin of error or +/- 4.2 percent

Conducted 6/16; surveyed 534 adults; margin of error +/- 4.2 percent (release, 6/18).

How do you feel about increased drilling for oil and natural gas offshore in U.S. waters?

Now May-10 Aug-08 Jul-08 Jun-08
Strongly Favor 26% 27% 52% 46% 48%
Mildly Favor 23% 30% 22% 23% 25%
Mildly Oppose 17% 16% 11% 12% 15%
Strongly Oppose 34% 25% 13% 18% 12%

On Meet the Press on Sunday June 20, Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour (R), a former oil industry lobbyist, said that the BP oil disaster is not as bad as the six month offshore deepwater drilling halt. President Obama called a time out until his bipartisan commission completes his investigation of the BP tragedy.

MR. GREGORY: Right. Well, to the-to that point, Governor, what’s worse, the moratorium or the effects of this spill on the region? And I talk about the moratorium on offshore drilling.

GOV. BARBOUR: Well, the moratorium. The skill-the spill’s a terrible thing, but the moratorium is a, is a terrible thing that’s not only bad for the region, it’s bad for America.

Americans strongly disagree with Gov. Barbour. The CNN poll found strong support for taking a time out from drilling while the investigation is ongoing.

The federal government suspending all new drilling for oil in the Gulf and other offshore sites for six months

Approve      58%

Disapprove  41%

President Obama’s Oval Office speech last week on the BP oil disaster, clean up, compensation, and long term clean energy policies got mixed reviews from pundits. Yet the CNN poll found overwhelming support for his efforts to make offshore oil drilling safer, develop clean alternative fuels, and reduce the amount of oil used in the U.S.

The federal government increasing the amount of regulation of the oil industry in the U.S.

Approve      68%

Disapprove  31%

Based on what you have heard or read, do you favor/oppose Obama’s proposals to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce the amount of oil and other fossil fuels that are produced and used in the U.S.?

Favor    72%

Oppose 25%

Do you think that proposals to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce the amount of oil and other fossil fuels that are produced and used in the U.S. would increase/decrease the number of jobs in the U.S.?

Increase     69%

Decrease    27%

No change    2%

Do you think that proposals to develop alternative sources of energy and reduce the amount of oil and other fossil fuels that are produced and used in the U.S. would make life better/worse for the next generation of Americans?

Better       79%

Worse       19%

No change   1%

An overwhelming proportion of Americans recognize that clean energy and oil use reduction measures would help — not hurt — the economy. Yet senior Republicans like Sen. Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (Ky.) continues to rely on age old scare tactics that clean energy reform will cause an economic catastrophe:

And now, in the midst of the worst environmental catastrophe in American history, they’re talking about a new national energy tax to achieve their ideological goal of passing global warming legislation.

Americans are pleading with the administration to fix the immediate problem in the Gulf, and the White House want to give us a new national energy tax instead.

Despite his assertion, Sen. McConnell is completely out of step with Americans’ views, based on the CNN poll. But he is in synch with BP and other big oil companies opposition to action on clean energy reform. Maybe that’s why they have given him so much campaign cash over the years.

Other senators should ignore Sen. McConnell’s fear mongering, and instead side with Americans who want prompt clean energy reform.