Drilling for Angles

WSJ spins a poll on offshore oil exploration the wrong way

Speaking of stretching for a newsy angle, The Wall Street Journal overreached yesterday with a story headlined “In California, Support Grows for Offshore Drilling.”

That angle got the story prominent placement on page two of the paper. But the poll of Californians it cites showed an increase in support for offshore drilling of just four points from three years ago and a decrease in opposition of six points. The increase in support is statistically insignificant—the margin of error was 3.5 percentage points—and a clear majority of 51 percent to 43 percent still oppose it.

It’s more surprising that the huge gas-price hikes of the last three years have barely moved the needle on the question.

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Ryan Chittum is a former Wall Street Journal reporter, and deputy editor of The Audit, CJR's business section. If you see notable business journalism, give him a heads-up at rc2538@columbia.edu. Follow him on Twitter at @ryanchittum.