A year ago today, an explosion occurred on the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig that would eventually spill an immense amount of oil into the Gulf of Mexico. The accident had a sustainable effect on public support for drilling. The percentage of Americans favoring more oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters fell from 63% in February 2010 to 44% in June 2010. In a survey taken roughly a year after the disaster, however, support for drilling has rebounded, increasing 13 points from the June poll. In a March 2011 survey, 57% of the public favored more oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters while just 37% opposed it. While support for oil and gas drilling has increased across political groups in the past year, there is still a wide partisan divide. In the March 2011 survey, 81% of Republicans favored allowing more offshore oil and gas drilling in U.S. waters, compared with 54% of independents and 46% of Democrats. Read More

Russell Heimlich  is a former web developer at Pew Research Center.