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Poll: More Floridians now support offshore drilling than oppose it

A new poll finds 47 percent of Florida voters now support offshore oil drilling, while 44 percent oppose it.

Tallahassee, Florida -- Floridians are warming up to offshore drilling again, according to a new Mason-Dixon poll.

The poll finds 47 percent of Florida voters now support offshore drilling, while 44 percent oppose it.

That's quite a shift from just three months ago.  In May, just after the Deepwater Horizon explosion, only 35 percent supported drilling and 55 percent opposed it.

Audubon of Florida says it is disappointed by the poll results.  Spokesman Eric Draper says now that the worst of the BP oil spill is over, people are focusing again on high gas prices.

"When the images are on television with the oiled pelicans and the tar balls on the beaches, people are going to be very worried about the economy and effect on wildlife.  When the images are not on television anymore, people's thoughts go back to ordinary issues such as the gas prices."

Draper says the poll still shows less than half of Floridians support offshore drilling and that should offer a message to state leaders.

"The Mason-Dixon poll that came out shows there's a lot of volatility in public opinion around this.  But we should not be opening Florida's waters to oil drilling given the risk with less than half the people supporting it."

Mason-Dixon has been polling Floridians about offshore drilling for years.

The poll in May was the only one over the past two years that showed most Floridians opposed offshore drilling.

Four other polls during that time all found more Floridians supported drilling than opposed it.

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