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What They Told Us: Reviewing Last Week’s Key Polls - Week Ending April 22, 2011

It was a week for looking back, but when Americans did look ahead, they didn’t like much of what they saw.

A year ago last Wednesday, an explosion at the Deepwater Horizon oil rig marked the beginning of the most devastating oil spill ever in the Gulf of Mexico. Most voters (54%) now think the cleanup from that spill has been fairly successful and appear less concerned about the long-term effect on the environment.  But voters still give low grades to both the federal government and the companies responsible for their response to the spill.

At the same time, support for deepwater oil drilling has reached its highest level since the Gulf oil spill began.  Fifty-nine percent (59%) now say deepwater drilling should be allowed. Twenty-two percent (22%) oppose deepwater drilling, while another 20% are undecided.

Support for continuing U.S. military operations in Libya is holding steady from two weeks ago after a drop-off in support from just after the mission began last month.  But voters remain almost evenly divided over U.S. military involvement in the Libyan political crisis.

However, most voters now expect the U.S. military’s role in Libya to last beyond this year.  Only 36% believe it is even somewhat likely that U.S. military involvement in Libya will be over by the end of the year. Fifty-five percent (55%) hold the opposite view and think the U.S. role is unlikely to end by December 31.

For Christians worldwide, this Easter weekend celebrates the ultimate sacrifice 2,000 years ago. Seventy-eight percent (78%) of Americans believe Jesus Christ to be the son of God who came to Earth to die for our sins and 74% believe he rose from the dead.

In addition to being Good Friday, marking the day on which Christ was crucified, this past Friday was the 42nd time that Earth Day has been celebrated. Eighteen percent (18%) planned to celebrate the occasion and Americans are closely divided over whether the informal annual holiday has raised the environmental consciousness of their fellow countrymen.  But they strongly believe improving the environment occurs on a personal level. However, just 27% of Adults say Americans are being selfish by putting their economic concerns ahead of the fight against global warming.

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