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September 26, 2013 1:33 PM No Wave Behind “Drill Baby Drill”

By Ed Kilgore

Since House Republicans are placing a bushel basket of goodies for the fossil fuel industry in their debt limit bill, it’s important to deal with the planted axiom in some coverage that jobs-starved Americans will support any old despoilation of the land and sky and climate. A new Pew Survey shows otherwise.

Yes, a solid majority (65/30) of respondents favor construction of the Keystone XL pipeline, including a slim majority (51/43) of self-identified Democrats. But at the same time an identical 65/30 majority favors “setting stricter emissions limits on power plants in order to address climate change.” And on that subject, a narrow majority of self-identified Republicans (52/43) favor the “green” position, even though disabling the federal government’s ability to promulgate climate change regulations is also part of the House GOP’s debt limit package of big love for polluters.

Interestingly and suprisingly (to me, anyway), the Pew survey also shows public support for “fracking” going sideways very rapidly, with a 48/44 margin in March now flipping to 44/49 now.

All in all, there’s no evidence of any “drill baby drill” wave in public opinion, and House Republicans should remember that if they care about anyone’s opinion other than fossil-fuel lobbyists and “the base,” both exemplified by the Brothers Koch.

Ed Kilgore is a contributing writer to the Washington Monthly. He is managing editor for The Democratic Strategist and a senior fellow at the Progressive Policy Institute. Find him on Twitter: @ed_kilgore.

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