May 24th, 2010
12:51 PM ET
5 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. gt

    B P needs to go to new orleans and get some of the unemployed there to help clean up the mess... give those people a chance to get a job and get off welfare,,, thats the only good thing to come out of this mess....

    May 24, 2010 01:53 pm at 1:53 pm |
  2. raymond

    our gov. and obama needs to stop blaming bp , we know there responsable.. But our gov refuses to help only blame ..Mean while oil iss washing on shore in louisiana..We very tired of hearing our gov. only answer there responsable not us .. Get us help and stop blaming

    May 24, 2010 01:54 pm at 1:54 pm |
  3. Hugo

    I'm not angry at BP, I'm angry at our Government for not doing their job of proper oversight in regulating Big Oil, and when are they jumping in and taking control to resolve the on-going issues. Plug the freaking pipe you bunch of numb nutts! Wait, just a thought, look at the money that can be squeezed out of the oil industry in clean ups, studies and lawyer fees and what a perfect political platform for an Obama/Gore Green Energy Bill....of course the only thing green is the money they will be taking from your pocket and placing in theirs!

    May 24, 2010 01:56 pm at 1:56 pm |
  4. JD

    I'll give it 3 minutes until a nut job conservative posts blaming Obama.

    May 24, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  5. lisa s

    BP's response to this oil spill is unacceptable. They do not seem to grasp the enormity of the situation. Neither does the Fed Gov't this has been going on for a month and the gov't has not even given Louisiana the resouces it needs to help the clean up. Shouldn't the fed's be mobilizing volunteers utilizing the Navy, the Marines, the National Guard> the feeble response of the Fed is appalling. We keep talking about making BP pay we are all going to pay with the loss natural resource's. Also BP has a liabilty cap of 750 million. Gov't keeps ignoring this fact

    May 24, 2010 01:58 pm at 1:58 pm |
  6. Joe

    What has Obama or his administration exactly done during last 5 weeks. Bush got blames for not promptly responding to Katrina for the first 3 days. By contrast, Obama has no clues whatsoever and did nothing during last 5 weeks. Oil is continuously spilling into the gulf and detroying the south while Obama is continuously relies on BP to do something about it. Mr. President, if you can't do it or if you don't know anything about it, please at least you should blame Bush if that is the best you can do!

    May 24, 2010 02:01 pm at 2:01 pm |
  7. Susan

    The BP spill has made me much more aware of the literally thousands of oil wells in the Gulf of Mexico and around the world. That awareness has now motivated me to push for tighter regulation, permitting, analysis, construction and operation of these well sites, no matter how shallow they are. Also, I will now follow all of the oil companies' efforts to drill in the Arctic.
    BP has awoken a sleeping giant int he form of U.S. citizens.

    May 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  8. katiec

    I do not see the headlines, CNN, about a group of republicans, led by the senator from Alaska, saying we should step in and take responsibility for the spill and, undoubtedly let BP continue with the billions dollars profit.
    If there was ever any doubt about the republicans sacrificing the American people and our country for big business, it has totally
    been erased.

    May 24, 2010 02:02 pm at 2:02 pm |
  9. BB

    This is not an Obama Administration problem!!!!!
    What is it Republicans say???
    Oh yes..."He's a Nazi, He's a Socilaist, He's a Communist.
    We want a small Government.
    Stay out of our bedrooms, yet gays should not have rights.
    We don't want them involved in our medical choices, yet a woman should not be allowed to choose.
    Drill Baby Drill.....spill baby spill, don't ask questions! It's the companies right to drill.
    It's wrong for the Governmment to be bailing out companise, cuz it's a "Government Take over, but "the Oil spill is Obama's fault and he should take over and clean it up!!!
    Stay out of Private companies and don't tax companies and leave their multi BILLION $$ quarterly profits alone, but use the tax from the millions of unemployed people to clean up the Oil Companies mess!

    Republicans sound liek a bunch of loons, they actually sound like they have mild retardation in their ideology. In other words...they are crazy!!!!!!!

    I do not want my tax dollars spent to clean this mess up. Each state affected by it, should pay for it along with the Foreign Oil company who Drilled, then Spilled and never had a plan in place just incase there was an accident. It's not a Natural Disaster, it's a man made disaster, which was heavily promoted by the Drill Baby Drill Republicans, maybe they can spend some of their Millions in the clean up as well.

    May 24, 2010 02:04 pm at 2:04 pm |
  10. Fitz in Texas

    What a failure Obama and his administration has been taking control of this problem. In the last twenty years BP and given over $3.5 million dollars to candidates...the largest single donation of $77,051 to Obama according to Center for Responsive Politics. Obama takes money from these people, gives them a safety award in '09 and does basically nothing to clean up this mess. Disgusting.

    May 24, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  11. Nancy Harrison

    I have lived in New Orleans for 20 years. Katrina and Bush did so much damage to this City that I didn't think anything could come near the devastation. Now President Obama is being blamed for the slow response to the BP oil spill disaster. I don't know what Obama could do in this situation except take it over under government control, but I don't see that helping. BP needs to step up its attempts to seal this spill and begin cleaning up the marshes and beaches. Irreparable harm has been dealt to people in Louisiana who make their livelihood from the Gulf. Not to mention the wildlife in the sea and in the air. When I see the brown pelicans covered with oil and their eggs covered with oil, I cry. The state just got them off the endangered species list and BAM they are threatened again.

    I'm sick and tired of hearing excuses. We need action, not FINGER POINTING. I don't give a rat's @!!**** who is responsible. I just want it fixed. Time to finger point when the gusher is stopped, the mess is cleaned up and our fishermen are once again able to ply their livelihood in the Gulf of Mexico.

    God help us if a hurricane or tropical storm enters the Gulf. It really will be all over.

    May 24, 2010 02:06 pm at 2:06 pm |
  12. helen kly

    I think the builders and designers of this rigg as well as BP are responsible. I think they are selfish to the end. They have no intention of stopping this leak they are still trying to save oil thru a straw for profit. They ought never to have a right to work in this country again. Haliburton, BP and anyone else involved.

    May 24, 2010 02:14 pm at 2:14 pm |
  13. Claudia, Houston, Tx

    BP CEOs are defending their million dollar pay checks. None of them have been fired.

    May 24, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  14. James Nicholson

    BP is one of the largest and most powerful oil companies on the planet. In recent days as the pressure comes to do something about what has happened nothing has been done. BP is dragging their feet. The U.S. government should have mowed these fools over and have taken control of the situation on week one. There is no reason that our government should have allowed a leak of this magnitude to continue without stepping in. Our Government is as guilty as BP for the largest environmental disaster by not taking action on their own.

    BP has the best finances and technology on the planet. I guarantee that if BP found a new oil site somewhere on the planet, they would be in operation overnight. It seems that BP is not doing enough fast enough. A little to late as they say.

    I think that with all that we have seen in the media, it is obvious that BP has lied to the public, lost our trust and not done enough to contain this environmental genicide.

    I think that as americans we should boycott any BP products and affiliates. If we stop buying from BP and let them know how serious we are that they will do a little more than they have so far.

    May 24, 2010 02:19 pm at 2:19 pm |
  15. Victim of George W's ECONOMY

    We USED to spend about $250 a month on the ole BP Gas Card, but guess where that card is now!!!!

    NO MORE.

    BP gets an F in our book.

    That well should have been CAPPED IMMEDIATELY!

    Not see how much oil BP can salvage and let the rest ruin the oceans.

    The ONLY good thing out of any of this is that it WILL EFFECT Britain as well. Once the oil has reached the Loop, and mark my words, it will, then it will be on it's way ACROSS THE WORLD.

    Thanks BP

    May 24, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  16. Tim

    The buck certainly doesn't stop with the Obama administration. The only thing more gaulling than BP's lack of preparedness and solutions is the federal governments lack of urgency to fix the problem.

    May 24, 2010 02:20 pm at 2:20 pm |
  17. Tim

    Obama is more concerned with assessing blame than assessing solutions.

    May 24, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  18. Victim of George W's ECONOMY

    I'm just saying, let the Brits feel the effects, just like us. It is after all, a BRITISH company.

    May 24, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  19. Ralph G.

    We as Americans are all responsible for this disaster. Congress must act on clean energy legislation as soon as possible to prevent disasters such as this and what happened to the 29 coal miners in Massey's mine from occurring again. It is time to stop funding terrorism with the oil we purchase from afar that goes directly to the bank of Iran, etc.

    Furthermore, the EPA must proceed with debarment of BP from all federal contracts until the oil rupture is remedied. Anything less would be uncivilized.

    May 24, 2010 02:22 pm at 2:22 pm |
  20. Raul

    drink your oil bastards!

    May 24, 2010 02:25 pm at 2:25 pm |
  21. Alex

    Saw the underwater camera of the leak. It's spewing pretty good. What a mess!!

    May 24, 2010 02:27 pm at 2:27 pm |
  22. munchmom

    While this situation saddens me, I am also saddened by the fact that not ONE MSM outlet has criticized the Obama administration for dragging their feet in getting down there to check things out. It has been more than a month, and I think that a "delegation" is going today–maybe the first time anyone has gone. Quit pointing fingers and do something! If this had been GWB, the MSM would have been all over it, within DAYS. The impact of this will be much more far-reaching than we can ever imagine, and the economy already sucks. I feel for those people who make their living on the water. Will the government be there ready to hand out checks to them??? I doubt it....

    May 24, 2010 02:28 pm at 2:28 pm |
  23. Angelica S.

    We need to stop blaming the oil company, but ourselves for being dependent on them in the first place. While animals who have been removed from the endangered species, like the brown pelican are being threatened yet again, by our lack of foresight, we forget that we humans are endangered species, we are one of a kind. We have yet to find another planet in our solar system with any living life at all, yet we are willing to compromise our own. I don't understand how we could fly men to the moon, yet are unable or unwilling to come up with a way to no longer be reliant on oil. It's our jobs as a human race to preserve our planet and the well being of all who abide in it. Let's all find an answer to this problem and ask ourselves, "what now."

    May 24, 2010 02:31 pm at 2:31 pm |
  24. Dano

    How many of these same angry folks were nodding their heads in agreement when the GOP dirtbags were screaming "Drill baby Drill" a few years ago? It's well past time for America to take the lead in developing clean renewable energy so we can tell the oil sheiks and the big oil companies where to stick their oil. Before oil & gasoline powered our country it had to be discovered and a distribution system had to be installed. We can do the same thing for the next generation of energy, whether it's hydrogen, natural gas, wind or solar power, or something not invented yet.

    May 24, 2010 02:33 pm at 2:33 pm |
  25. Sharon

    BP was on the job from the moment of the explosion!
    Obama took 9 days before making a statement! Then placed all the blame on BP!

    Since this disaster (whether terrorists related or accidental), I have researched on all oil spills–and any rigs which burned to the bottom of the ocean!

    My findings were there have been serious oil spills in the past! Of which-none collapsed and burned all the way down to the ocean floor!

    When you look at the reaction from this Administration (after 9 days), just left BP to take care of it–but responsible for all of it!

    Upon hearing that, I thought about the oil coming right onshore of the US–affecting the fishermen of the US-others who are affected by the lack of tourists on our shores-and for our Govt to respond–BP is in charge–did nothing to help–9 days to respond!

    Today our Govt had the gall to say–WE ARE GOING TO TAKE OVER THIS OPERATION SINCE BP CAN'T!

    BP was there from the beginning-now our GOVT who did nothing-homeland secretary (Naplitano) didn't even consider this to a potential terrorist act-for our Govt to step in now-WILL BE OBAMA–NAPOLITANO'S KATRINA!

    If our Govt had been there day one–(instead of vacatoning)-and if our Govt had communicated and worked with BP-the results would have been better! Working together Govt-BP to stop the oil spill–then later place the blame–the cost–after the completion of stopping the spill!

    Our Govt WAS A LITTLE TOO LATE!

    May 24, 2010 02:40 pm at 2:40 pm |
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