The 51-47 vote was mostly along party lines. Most Democrats, including Senator John Kerry, voted in favor of eliminating the subsidies but fell far short of the 60 votes needed to withstand a filibuster. Only Republican Senators Olympia Snowe and Susan Collins, both of Maine, joined the Democrats.
Four Democrats - Jim Webb of Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Ben Nelson of Nebraska and Mark Begich of Alaska - voted against repealing the subsidies. Begich and Landrieu represent states with large oil revenues.
We all know why do Republicans make taxpayers subsidize ultra-rich oil companies but want austerity for those same taxpayers. They do it because the oil companies are rich and give huge campaign contributions but poor taxpayers can't. It's called greed, and most Republicans have it in spades regardless of how much they claim to give away to their pet charities for the tax deductions and to support charities that support greedy capitalism anyway.