May 24th, 2010
12:51 PM ET
8 years ago

CNN Poll: Anger at BP as most Americans say spill will affect them

Oil washes ashore in Louisiana. Most Americans say that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will personally affect them.

Oil washes ashore in Louisiana. Most Americans say that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will personally affect them.

Washington (CNN) - Most Americans say that the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico will personally affect them, and more than three quarters say they disapprove of how BP has handled the situation, according to a new poll. A CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Monday also indicates that a slight majority of the public disapproves of how the Obama administration's handling the spill.

Fifty-three percent of people questioned in the poll say the spill will affect them or their familes indirectly, with another 31 percent saying the spill affects them directly. Only 16 percent of people questioned say they and their families will not be affected by the spill.

Full results (pdf)

"Although the spill is limited, for now, to one area, most Americans think its effects will ripple far beyond the Gulf states," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "The number who say they will be directly affected by the spill is highest in the South, but about a third of people who live in the Northeast and Midwest also think they will be directly affected. That figure drops to 26 percent in the western states that are the furthest from the Gulf of Mexico."

The poll's release comes as a BP executive Monday defended his company's attempts to stop a massive oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico, amid growing frustration and suggestions that the federal government could take over the effort.

More than three quarters of people questioned in the survey say they disapprove of how BP has handled the spill, with 24 percent saying they approve of how the oil company has acted.

"One in four say they are less likely to buy gasoline from a BP station as a result of the spill," adds Holland. "But anger at BP doesn't let the federal government off the hook."

The Obama administration has come under increasing criticism in the past week for its handling of the spill. According to the poll, a slight majority, 51 percent, disapprove of how President Obama has handled the spill, with 46 percent approving of how the White House is dealing with the situation.

Fifty-three percent say the efforts to contain the spill will be unsuccessful, and six in ten are not confident that the government will be able to prevent another big oil spill in the future.

"A majority say they still support offshore drilling for oil and natural gas. But that figure is down 17 points since the days of "drill, baby, drill" during the 2008 presidential election, and the number who say they strongly favor drilling has dropped by nearly half," says Holland.

Since the explosion aboard the Deepwater Horizon in late April about 40 miles off Louisiana and its subsequent sinking, oil has been gushing into the Gulf at an estimated rate of about 5,000 barrels a day (210,000 gallons). Some estimates have put the amount of oil spewing from the well far higher.

Eleven workers are missing and presumed dead after the sinking. The cause of the explosion has not been determined.
Efforts to shut down the well have failed so far, though BP says it has been able to capture some of the escaping oil and pump it to a ship on the surface.

According to the survey, 55 percent of the public says the possibility of environmental damage as a result of offshore drilling is a very serious problem, with another 28 percent saying it is a somewhat serious problem.

The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted May 21-23, with 1,023 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus three percentage points.

–CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report

Filed under: CNN poll • Energy • Popular Posts • President Obama
soundoff (51 Responses)
  1. Jayne

    So Mr. Rand Paul, you still think that anger towards BP expressed by President Obama is "UnAmerican"? BP is a bunch of crooks. Boycott them.

    May 24, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  2. SocialismBad

    And the Obama administration just sits and twiddles their thumbs while they hold their jack booted foot on the throat of BP. All they REALLY know how to do IS PLACE BLAME.

    Everything good that happens is THEIR doing while everything bad or incompetent is some evil companies fault, or of course George Bush's fault or surely Dick Cheney's.

    The American people are witnessing the most INCOMPETENT adminisrartion in its HISTORY!

    May 24, 2010 12:57 pm at 12:57 pm |
  3. Four and The Door

    This was not an accident. Accidents are not preventable. This was BP showing that they are not qualified to do the kind of drilling operation that this involved. The first mistake was that they did not know how to contain this kind of a failure. The second mistake was that they made a series of bad decisions that ignored this kind of failure. And the government still trusts them to start doing stuff correctly now? It seems risky for the Obama Administration to continue relying on these bufoons.

    May 24, 2010 01:02 pm at 1:02 pm |
  4. normajean

    As one of those families that would say, that we are not affected by the oil in the Gulf of Mexico., this means not directly but how could anyone not be affected? We are sick about this mess, praying somehow they can get a handle on it, furious with the oil companies involved who should be sued by all of those workers and fisherman who have been wiped out of their long held jobs,worried about how this will affect our already troubled economy,, how could we not be affected? Of course we are ! Every day, I wish there was something I could help.

    May 24, 2010 01:05 pm at 1:05 pm |
  5. Richard Miller in Montana

    Maybe those that are upset with this little old oil spill should take it up with Dick Cheney and the oil company execs and their secret meeting on energy policy that they held some time back. Or. maybe those congressmen that have been sucking the funds up from the oil company lobbyists all of these years should stop doing the posturing thing as they all look pretty silly now that the horse is out of the barn. Or, maybe we should blame ourselves for being addicted to a product that we use more than any other country in the world......maybe, do ya think?

    May 24, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  6. malcolm in St Louis

    Can someone analyze the 24% that approve of BPs handling this. there should some serious opportunities for mental health professionals to write a lot of papers ..

    There might be a link to tea partier syndrome. A serious condition that results in the ability to correlate facts from fiction and the connection to winning office.

    May 24, 2010 01:08 pm at 1:08 pm |
  7. Rickster

    and don't forget to save some of that anger for our do-nothing, fail-at-everything-I-do president. Heckuva job, Barry!

    May 24, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  8. malcolm in St Louis

    oops, meant to say "inability to correlate .."

    May 24, 2010 01:09 pm at 1:09 pm |
  9. Susan

    Sarah Palin and the Republicans are blaming Obama for not doing enough (they were the Party for Drill Baby Drill, and one of Palins famous slogans)......and isn't this the Party Of NO that doesn't want Obama spending anymore money, aren't they the Party of NO that doesn't want to add anymore money to the deficit......aren't they the Party of NO that want smaller government.......the ones responsible should be BP with all their Billions of dollars they have made, they are the ones that are suppose to be the experts on drilling for Oil they should have plans to fix the messes that they was NO ONES fault but BP'S........Maybe Obama should now get some other Oil companies to step in and try to fix it and send all the BILLS to BP

    May 24, 2010 01:14 pm at 1:14 pm |
  10. Liz the First

    I hope all the climate change deniers will look at this disaster and finally wake up to the realization of how much harm the human species can do to this planet. when we destroy this earth we will destroy ourselves. it's that simple! we need to clean up our act soon or it'll be too late, if it isn't already. i cannot possibly fathom how anyone can think it's ok to spew millions of tons of pollutants into the air and water and think the planet will just shake it off. and to the folks who argue that carbon dioxide isn't a pollutant and is necessary to life, you are only partially right. it is good and necessary, when it's in the right proportion to oxygen and all the other gasses that make up our atmosphere. it's not the carbon dioxide itself that's creating climate change, it's the INCREASING PERCENTAGE of it that is causing the problem. this is what man is doing to cause all the trouble, changing the balance between oxygen and carbon dioxdie in the atmosphere. unless we restore that balance, the world will continue to get hotter and more inhospitable to human life. we have to wean ourselves off oil and coal and it can't happen soon enough!

    May 24, 2010 01:16 pm at 1:16 pm |
  11. sharan goldstein

    As a strong supporter of Pres. Obama, I can't begin to express my disappointment in the handling of what may end up being the worst catastrophe this nation has suffered. WHY is offshore drilling being allowed to continue before we fully understand more about this disaster?
    WHY did it take so long to form a task force to examine this oil spill?
    WHY will it be 6 months before the report is due. I can't imagine how much damage will have been done in the meantime. SHAME, SHAME on ALL!

    May 24, 2010 01:19 pm at 1:19 pm |
  12. NAB

    EPA should be handling this. The environmental impact should take precedence over all the other considerations. The area impacted TODAY is Barataria Bay which produces more seafood than
    the states of MS,AL & FL put together. Get real. Save the marshes!

    May 24, 2010 01:22 pm at 1:22 pm |
  13. Angi's mom

    Anyone who is familiar with the Santa Barbara and the Exon Valdez oil disasters knows that the sealife and coastal regions are still suffering. There's no doubt that the BP "spill" (a nice way to discribe a geyser) will reach the beautiful beaches of Florida and Mexico. How many oil soaked birds and fish must die to satisy our need for oil? Let's protect our precious oceans and sealife and seabirds. Ban offshore drilling forever.

    May 24, 2010 01:25 pm at 1:25 pm |
  14. Turnabout is Fair Play

    Who CARES how the oil spilling in the Gulf will affect average Americans, right Palin and Co.? It's all about DRILL, BABY, DRILL!!! DRILL HERE! DRILL NOW!! RIght?? How's that oiley, drilly thing working out for ya Rethugs?

    May 24, 2010 01:34 pm at 1:34 pm |
  15. Tulsa

    So tell me neocons, Should the Federal government do more? Or is this the responsibility of the business that caused the spill?

    Is the Obama administration right to leave it to the businesses to stop the spill and clean things up?

    Or, Should he step in and spend the money it's going to take to get the job done? If so, who pays?

    I'll wait and see if this one wears you out.

    Oh, and the comparisons to Katrina don't really work..... we couldn't get the hurricane to pay for the mess.

    May 24, 2010 01:38 pm at 1:38 pm |
  16. Tony

    Plenty of people warned us of this, they were told to go chase UFOs through the woods with Ralph Nader and the rest of the hippies

    May 24, 2010 01:39 pm at 1:39 pm |
  17. Independent Joe

    We have a liberal president, a liberal senate, and a liberal congress. Yet nothing is getting done .I thought liberals side with environmentalists! I know liberals are not raised to think for themselves, but you don't need to be genius to take action. The libs should have dispatched all available resources to save the coast line and then bill BP. At least they would have saved something. They makle me puke!

    Independent Joe

    May 24, 2010 01:40 pm at 1:40 pm |
  18. andrew

    Bp is an example of rand pauls belief that big business should not be regulated by the gov.

    May 24, 2010 01:41 pm at 1:41 pm |
  19. doug

    My President is so busy getting "JoBS Created" that he can no longer afford to get involved in every issue, no matter how impportant this is to the public. He already blamed BP, what more do you want. Politics is where my President lives, he understands that it is the democrats that want to run the country for thirty more years, save the senators.

    May 24, 2010 01:42 pm at 1:42 pm |
  20. Ted

    I am sure everyone knows by now that BP stands for BIG POLLUTER. I myself have not been buying BP gasoline for at least three years when it surfaced that BP in Whiting IN was dumping ammonia in Lake Michigan, the source for drinking water for Chicago and suburbs. I hope this oil spill bankrupts BP and they go out of business. BP advertises it is a friend of the environment when the opposite is true.

    May 24, 2010 01:44 pm at 1:44 pm |
  21. GI Joe

    I'm finding it rather perplexing. GOP says keep gov't out of our businesses.

    Now they want the gov't to take over BP's responsibility for the spill baby spill in the gulf.

    Which is it? Leave corporations alone? Or clean up after each SNAFU?

    May 24, 2010 01:46 pm at 1:46 pm |
  22. Agnes

    This whole situation patently underscores just how Unacceptable off shore drilling is. We can't trust the fed. govt. to protect its own coast, local govt. efforts to protect its citizens and coast are ignored, oil business runs rampant thumbing its nose at the victims while still making a profit, local communities pay the price to their health, business, wildlife resource, uncontrolled toxic pollutants, and a clean up effort that will take decades.

    May 24, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  23. rob

    Thats the way to bury a bad Poll # for the administration, hide it deep inside a story of how many people are mad at BP.
    See below:

    "According to the poll, a slight majority, 51 percent, disapprove of how President Obama has handled the spill, with 46 percent approving of how the White House is dealing with the situation."

    Now if this were say a McCain administration I think DNCNN and the other liberal MSM outlets would be pounding them with questions and accusations from the Dems about dragging their feet to help "their friends in BIG OIL" But no, the MSM won't let these things bother President Obama and his agenda, they all know November will be here very quickly so time is running out.

    The national press is a disgrace.

    May 24, 2010 01:48 pm at 1:48 pm |
  24. sensible Cape Coral Fl

    I'll walk a thousand miles before I buy one ounce of gas fom BP. Power to the consumers!

    May 24, 2010 01:51 pm at 1:51 pm |
  25. ramtruck2500

    Gee and dont you just love the way the market system has taken care of everything again! Atsounding ain't it...

    May 24, 2010 01:52 pm at 1:52 pm |
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