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Blog Post · October 6, 2021

Most Californians Oppose More Offshore Oil Drilling

photo - Offshore Drilling Rig Near Huntington Beach, California

Following the major oil spill off the Orange County coastline, there have been renewed calls to ban drilling off the California coast. Strong majorities of Californians have opposed allowing more oil drilling off the California coast in recent years. When we last asked this question in our July 2021 survey, 72% were opposed.

Notably, at least half of Californians have been opposed to more oil drilling off the California coast since 2013. Spikes in opposition have occurred following oil spills after Hurricane Katrina in 2005 and the Deepwater Horizon oil spill in 2010.

Opposition is widespread. Across parties, overwhelming majorities of Democrats and independents oppose more drilling, while far fewer Republicans are opposed. There is solid majority opposition across regions, though opposition is higher in the San Francisco Bay Area and Los Angeles than elsewhere in the state. Notably, residents who live along the coast (75%) are more likely than inland Californians (64%) to be opposed.

Strong majorities of Californians across demographic groups are opposed, though differences do emerge. Latinos, African Americans, and Asian Americans are all more likely than whites to oppose more drilling. Opposition declines as age increases (79% 18 to 34, 73% 35 to 54, 65% 55 and older) and increases as education levels rise (69% high school only, 71% some college, 76% college graduate). Of the partisan, regional, and demographic groups examined in our survey, support for more oil drilling reaches a majority only among Republicans (55%) and conservatives (52%).

As the cleanup continues and as some push to prohibit offshore oil drilling, stay tuned to the PPIC Statewide Survey for more information about Californians’ views on this topic. For more survey findings on the environment and California’s coast, make sure to visit our website where you can find crosstabs and time trends data from our surveys.


environment oil drilling Political Landscape Statewide Survey Water, Land & Air