According to a just released poll by Rasmussen published at Enviroknow, it appears that Republican voters have now moved left, tipping the nation’s majority against off-shore oil drilling. Pre-disaster, only 31% of Republicans were concerned or somewhat concerned, so along with the 70% of Democrats who were concerned it was a wash. But now that 50% of Republicans say that they are very or somewhat concerned, the nation’s tipping point is reached. (Democrats concern has grown to 84%.)
As of two months into this disaster, more than half of all Americans are now against drilling for off-shore oil.
But this month, Republican Senators plan to (once more) filibuster legislation to end our dependence on dirty energy.
What is more, of this Republican group of likely voters surveyed, almost all of them said they were following the ‘offshore drilling incident’ closely – 93%. This means it really has their attention, because if they didn’t care, they wouldn’t be following it closely. They do see what is happening. If they are following it, then they are beginning to understand the implications of fossil energy dependence.
This is in marked contrast to the Republican response to science and climate change, where the response to an even more catastrophic danger has been to put their fingers in their ears and see nothing, there is no global warming, it’s all a hoax, Al Gore, scientists are just in it for the money or whatever.
Partly, this difference in attention is due to an accident of fate, that is a fortuitous circumstance. On this disaster, there is accurate media coverage, only because THE fundamental tenet of media coverage is “If it bleeds, it leads.”
The Gulf apocalypse of oil ‘bleeds’ so well, that it overcomes the usual disinformation campaign that the media normally provides on behalf of the fossil industry. Typically, even PBS shows such as News Hour or The Diane Rheem Show will have disproportionate representation from fossil industry-lobbying groups like the American Enterprise Institute and The Heritage Foundation to counteract one climate scientist, and that’s if they even cover climate change news. Balanced by Republican media that blares out a steady diet of misinformation about climate change, it was easy to isolate even sophisticated Republican voters from the facts.
But as a result of the ‘bleeds must lead’ coverage, even Republican voters are now getting the real news on an environmental ill effect of fossil energy. And it is changing them. They are not so different from Democrats after all on this issue. Only two months into just one environmental catastrophe (that we’ll see many more of as we scrape even further the bottom of the barrel for oil) they are now, after just two months of the scales being lifted, able to see environmental risk.
In sharp contrast, when Palin was arousing their fervor to Drill, Baby, Drill! during the McCain campaign, Republican support for off-shore drilling was at 90%. The media is finally bringing it home to Republican voters that we are in danger, in such a visceral way that it bypasses their defenses and they can understand it.
This month, the Senate votes on clean energy legislation to cap and start to reduce pollution from dirty energy. I hope for all our sakes that the single voting bloc of Republican Senators who consistently oppose any move to clean energy see that their constituents can now see reality.
Susan Kraemer @Twitter
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