Expanding offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters

Arctic drilling may not be a top tier topic in the Nov. 4 mid-term elections, but new polling suggests that endorsing oil and gas exploration in remote waters north of Alaska could be a winning strategy for some candidates in tight Senate contests.

In Alaska, where incumbent Democratic Sen. Mark Begich is being challenged by Republican Dan Sullivan, 73 percent of likely voters surveyed by Hickman Analytics said they supported allowing offshore oil and natural gas drilling in Arctic waters north of the state. More broadly, 72 percent said they supported expanding offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters.

And in Louisiana, where Democrat Mary Landrieu is facing off against Rep. Bill Cassidy, R-La., and retired Air Force Col. Rob Maness, offshore drilling in U.S. Arctic waters is supported by 66 percent of likely voters. Seventy-six percent of likely Louisiana voters said they support expanding offshore drilling in all U.S. waters.

The telephone survey, which was conducted for the oil industry-backed Consumer Energy Alliance, found slightly less clear-cut support for Arctic drilling in Georgia, where there is a tight race between Republican David Perdue and Democrat Michelle Nunn. There, 59 percent of the 500 likely voters who were surveyed said they supported allowing Arctic drilling, compared to 21 percent who said they oppose it.

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