NEW POLL: Voters Decisively Reject ‘Drill, Baby, Drill,’ Blame Oil & Gas Companies, OPEC+ for High Gas Prices

Voters across party lines also overwhelmingly support making polluters pay

WASHINGTON, D.C.  – A new Data for Progress-Climate Power-Fossil Free Media survey released today explores voter attitudes about gas prices and energy policy. By a large margin, voters reject the “drill, baby, drill” rhetoric that Donald Trump and other Republicans have been deploying on the campaign trail in favor of strengthening our energy independence by building clean energy that can power homes, businesses, and schools while lowering costs for American families. In addition, voters blame high energy prices on large oil companies and their CEOs and believe these companies have too much power in government. Yet, voters remain optimistic about a transition away from fossil fuels and toward clean energy and, by a 51-point margin, prefer a candidate who will stand up to oil and gas CEOs rather than support them. 

“Voters see through the efforts by oil and gas CEOs to shift blame for high gas prices away from their rampant profiteering,” said Alex Witt, Climate Power senior advisor for oil and gas. “‘Drill, baby, drill’ didn’t work then, and it’s not working now. Clean energy is driving our economic boom and Americans want to see more investments in renewable energy.”  

“Our polling finds that voters are concerned about high energy prices — meanwhile, oil companies are making record profits,” said Danielle Deiseroth, executive director of Data for Progress. “Voters are eager to jumpstart America’s clean energy production that will benefit our economy and environment for generations to come, and leave the ‘drill, baby, drill’ attitude behind.”

“The findings show that support for making fossil fuel companies pay for the damage they’ve caused is both deep and growing rapidly,” said Jamie Henn, Director of Fossil Free Media and spokesperson for Make Polluters Pay. “Americans understand that polluters like Exxon and Shell need to be held accountable for the climate crisis they caused through decades of deception and denial. It’s time to make them pay their fair share.”

Voters Understand that Clean Energy is a Key Driver of Jobs, Growth

The survey finds that 68% of voters view the growth of the clean energy industry as a positive economic force, with 58% believing it will be a greater driver of job creation compared with the fossil fuel industry (34%). However, a plurality of voters (44%) think that the rollout of renewable energy is taking place “too slowly,” including 63% of Democrats and 47% of Independents, compared to only 20% concerned about the rollout expanding “too quickly.” A recent Climate Power report found that the clean energy economic boom has resulted in companies announcing or advancing 211,350 new jobs across 45 states and Puerto Rico between August 16, 2022, and September 30, 2023. There are 388 new clean energy projects in small towns and big cities nationwide, totaling $310 billion in new investments. 

Blame for High Gas Prices Falls on OPEC+, Oil and Gas CEOs 

When asked who they blame for higher energy prices, voters assign “a great deal” of blame to members of OPEC+ (47%), market instability driven by global conflict (42%), oil and gas CEOs (42%), and oil and gas companies generally (39%). 

Three-quarters of voters, including majorities of Democrats, Republicans, and Independents, further agree with the following statement: “CEOs of fossil fuel companies are taking advantage of skyrocketing energy prices caused by conflict in Ukraine and the Middle East.”

Making Polluters Pay is Overwhelmingly Popular Across Party Lines

While only 35% of voters trust oil and gas companies to adhere to their own pollution reduction promises without oversight and enforcement, there is strong voter appetite for the government making polluters pay. Three-quarters of voters would support making oil and gas companies pay a tax on their excess profits, in addition to 70% who would support making polluters pay for climate damages. Notably, majorities of Independents and Republicans support both of these proposals.

You can read a memo summarizing the survey’s findings here and the survey’s full crosstabs here.