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American Public Supports Decision to Tap Oil Reserves

American Public Supports Decision to Tap Oil Reserves

OPEC, oil companies share blame for recent price hikes

by Mark Gillespie

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ – Prices for crude oil are on the rise again, with traders blaming political instability in the Middle East, cool weather in the Northeast, and dwindling U.S. inventories of crude oil and home heating oil. November futures contract prices for crude oil delivery are now at their highest level since Sept. 22, when President Clinton announced his decision to release 30 million barrels of crude oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve.

A Gallup poll conducted Oct. 6-9, 2000, finds that 58% of Americans favor the president's decision, while 36% oppose it. Support for the decision is consistent across all regions of the country, with slightly higher levels (60%) in the East, where most heating oil is consumed and where prices are likely to rise again this winter. The decision was also supported more heavily by those earning less than $30,000 annually – the income group most likely to be affected by increases in energy prices.

Who Gets the Blame for Higher Prices?
Oil producing nations, led largely by OPEC (Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries) members, are blamed by 29% of Americans for the recent increase in prices for gasoline and home heating oil. This compares with the 23% of Americans who blamed that group in a June Gallup poll. Oil companies appear to be getting a small break from public criticism – in June, 29% of Americans blamed oil companies for high prices, but that level fell to 16% in the current poll.

It should be noted that 22% of Americans – when asked to name who they believed to be responsible for the price increases – named either the federal government (13%) or the Clinton administration (9%). Among demographic groups, the federal government was selected consistently by between 11% and 17% of all groups, while Republicans tended to blame the Clinton administration more than did Democrats and independents.

Survey Methods

The results below are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 1,052 adults, 18 years and older, conducted Oct. 6-9, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 3 percentage points. In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Who or what do you think is responsible for the recent increase in the price of gasoline and home heating oil?

 

 

Oct 6-9, 2000

Jun 22-25, 2000 ^

 

%

%

     

Oil producing nations

29

23

Oil companies

16

29

Federal government

13

8

Clinton administration

9

4

American consumers

3

2

Greed/profit motive

2

2

The economy

2

2

Politicians

2

1

Big business

1

1

High taxes

1

1

Low supply/shortage

1

1

EPA regulations

1

1

Energy Department policies

1

1

Distributors

*

1

U.S. trade policies

*

1

Vehicle manufacturers

*

--

     

Other

3

2

No opinion

16

20

     

*Less than 0.5%

   

^

Wording: Who or what do you think is responsible for the increase in gas prices?



Do you favor or oppose the recent decision by the Clinton administration to release 30 million barrels of oil from the Strategic Petroleum Reserve?

 

Favor

Oppose

No opinion

       

2000 Oct 6-9

58%

36

6



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