PI Original Josh Kalven Wednesday August 6th, 2008, 6:19pm

Biggert Joins The "Texas Tea Party"

The Hill is reporting that GOP Rep. Judy Biggert was among the new arrivals in Washington, DC today, as House Republicans continued their effort to bring Congress back into session so that their offshore drilling bill can receive a vote. As we noted yesterday, Republican ...

The Hill is reporting that GOP Rep. Judy Biggert was among the new arrivals in Washington, DC today, as House Republicans continued their effort to bring Congress back into session so that their offshore drilling bill can receive a vote. As we noted yesterday, Republican Congressmen Peter Roskam, Mark Kirk, and Don Manzullo have also been participating in this bit of political theater.

This morning, Biggert and several of her colleagues joined former House Speaker Newt Gingrich at a press conference to announce a new GOP-sponsored poll purportedly showing that the public supports their actions. From The Hill:

Pollster David Winston of the Winston Group told House Republicans at a morning briefing that 68 percent of Americans want a drilling vote before the end of the 110th Congress. He also said the GOP is winning generic ballots by 12 percent on energy policies when the Republican and Democratic plans are compared, a source in the room said.

I'd be interested to see the wording of that question.

But while we're on the subject of energy-related polling, here are some recent findings that fly in the face of the GOP assumption that the public supports their pro-drilling mantra. In a July poll by Belden Russonello & Stewart, 76 percent of respondents said that "investing in new energy technology including renewable fuels and more efficient automobiles" was a more important government priority than "expanding exploration and drilling for more oil":

As Huffington Post's Sam Stein also mentioned today, 63 percent of the Belden poll respondents said that opening up public lands to oil and gas drilling was "more likely to enrich oil companies than to lower gas prices for American consumers."

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