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Florida voters split on oil drilling amendment

TALLAHASSEE — As the Deepwater Horizon disaster threatens Florida's shores, state voters are growing more opposed to offshore oil drilling and now are evenly divided about whether to amend the state Constitution to ban the practice, according to a new Miami Herald/St. Petersburg Times poll.

The poll shows 44 percent of Florida voters support a constitutional ban and 44 percent oppose it, according to the Ipsos Public Affairs survey of 607 registered voters. The poll has a 4-percentage-point error margin.

It takes a 60 percent vote to approve a constitutional amendment.

The poll found that voters support or opposition to such an amendment depends on where they live. Those who live closest to the oil drilling rigs in the Gulf of Mexico are more likely to favor a constitutional ban. Those who live inland, don't mind drilling as much.

Julia Clark, polling director for Ipsos Public Affairs, said it was a classic case of not-in-my-back-yard politics.

"It's NIMBY. It's not where I can see it or smell it and therefore doesn't affect me as much,'' she said. "It's human nature.''

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