Rasmussen Reports did a poll that they tout as showing “67 percent Support Offshore Drilling.”
Given the biased way they did the poll (details here), I’m surprised the number was so low.
The first question they asked: “How concerned are you about rising gas and energy prices?”
Pretty much everybody is concerned. Duh. But in a flawed poll, almost a push poll, the point of the first question is to get people thinking about about the pain of gasoline prices, rather than, say, the coastal environment or global warming.
Second question: “In order to reduce the price of gas, should drilling be allowed in offshore oil wells off the coasts of California, Florida, and other states?“
I kid you not. That was the question. And Rasmussen is supposedly a serious polling firm. I’m just surprised that only 67 percent answered that loaded question “yes.”
Why not just ask, “In order to reduce the price of gas, should we elect John McCain who wants drilling offshore — did we mention that would reduce the incredibly high price of gasoline that you are paying?” How about somebody do a poll where the question is: “In order to risk our precious coastlines, which provide great economic value to the country, should we allow offshore drilling even though the Bush administration projects that would not significantly change oil production or prices through the year 2030 and beyond?”
If you base a question on a false or leading assumption, your poll results are meaningless. Offshore drilling would probably never have a significant impact on oil production or prices according to the Bush administration’s own economic and energy analysts, as I have blogged (see EIA to McCain: Drop offshore (drilling)).
Not surprisingly, in what is the equivalent of a push poll, after a question from the pollster that strongly implies offshore drilling would reduce gasoline prices, Rasmussen then absurdly asks:
If offshore oil is allowed, how likely is it that the price of gas will go down?
What a shock — 64 percent say “very likely” or “somewhat likely.”
And yet Rasmussen puts this in the headline:
67% Support Offshore Drilling, 64% Expect it Will Lower Prices
Given how the poll was conducted, I actually view these numbers as remarkably low and a sign that one third of the public can’t be bullied around by pollsters.
For another take on the pointlessness of drilling as a solution to high prices, see here.