For the first time, a majority of Californians now favor additional offshore oil drilling, according to a new opinion poll by the Public Policy Institute of California.

The margin is small, 51 to 45 percent, but the result stands as the latest confirmation that Republicans may have an issue that can help them in the fall campaign. Voters in such swing states as Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Virginia are not likely to be more concerned than Californians about impacts on the California shore. When gasoline passed $4 a gallon, there was climate change of a different kind. The political climate changed.

In a related story, the oil giant Exxon Mobil today reported profits of $11.68 billion in the second quarter.