Offshore Drilling Issue May Backfire on McCain

He could make key enemies of Florida and California
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 18, 2008 3:46 AM CDT
The sun sets behind the Hillhouse A oil and gas platform near the Federal Ecological Reserve in the Santa Barbara Channel near Santa Barbara, CA.   (Getty Images)
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(Newser) – John McCain is making a risky bet with his call to end a ban on offshore drilling, Charles Mahtesian and David Mark write in Politico. Polls show a clear majority of Americans are in favor of lifting the ban—but the candidate risks tapping a geyser of resentment in California and Florida, states strongly opposed to drilling that would be among the most affected by a change in policy.

McCain is gambling that the ever-rising price of oil will swing opinions on offshore drilling to his side, but with the battleground states involved, the stakes are extremely high. "This is a state where if you don’t understand how deep the connections are to our identity and our culture, you could step on a land mine," warns a Florida environmentalist. "This could be one of those cases.”