Californians Give Offshore Drilling Cold Shoulder

Majority of registered voters now oppose drilling

By Jackson West
|  Friday, May 28, 2010  |  Updated 3:00 PM PDT
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The prospect of California's famous beaches being fouled -- and taking tourism and fishing along with it -- has even Republicans backing away from "Drill, Baby, Drill."

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The epic catastrophe in the Gulf of Mexico, where an oil leak has now surpassed the volume of the Exxon Valdez disaster and shows no sign of stopping, has turned the tide of public opinion on offshore drilling here in California.

At least according to a recent poll conducted by the Los Angeles Times and the University of Southern California, which found that 50 percent of registered voters surveyed say they now oppose any new oil rigs off the coast.

However, 52 percent of those surveyed who don't live near the coast still support more drilling.

California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has reversed his stance on offshore drilling, ending plans to expand operations on Traquillon ridge.

Republican gubernatorial hopeful and former eBay CEO Meg Whitman recently followed suit, saying "I'm a no on offshore oil drilling."

As gas prices peaked in 2007 and 2008, polls showed a majority of Californians came to support more offshore oil operations after years of opposition.

But the prospect of Pismo Beach covered in a slick has clearly made voters a little sick.

Jackson West might just rent "There Will Be Blood" this weekend.

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