With gas prices reaching historic highs, a Rasmussen Reports telephone poll shows Americans looking for relief are consistently backing the same answer: Drill for our own oil.

The survey found 67 percent of voters support drilling for oil off American coasts, and 64 percent believe it at least somewhat likely drilling will lead to lower prices at the pump.

The survey was conducted before presumptive Republican presidential nominee Sen. John McCain proposed lifting the federal ban on offshore drilling that covers roughly 80 percent of U.S. coastal waters.

The federal moratorium that bans exploration for offshore oil deposits was passed in 1981 but has frequently been challenged in Congress. Last year in the Senate, Sen. Barack Obama, the presumptive Democratic presidential nominee, voted against lifting the ban, arguing it was only a short-term solution to America’s oil and gas woes. Democratic leaders and many environmental organizations have consistently favored leaving the ban in place.

American opinion, however, appears to be solidifying – across the political spectrum – in favor of drilling. According to the survey, 85 percent of Republicans, 57 percent of Democrats and 60 percent of unaffiliated voters all favor offshore drilling. Even among self-described liberals, 46 percent favored drilling, while 37 percent were opposed.

When asked if drilling should be allowed off the coasts of California, Florida and other states, the cumulative numbers showed 67 percent in favor, 18 percent disagreeing and 15 percent undecided.

The numbers also showed Americans believe the step will drive gas prices down. Seventy-eight percent of self-described conservatives, 57 percent of moderates and 50 percent of liberals say offshore drilling is at least somewhat likely to lower the price at the pump.


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