June 15th, 2010
04:54 PM ET
5 years ago

Poll: Disapproval of Obama handling of oil spill jumps

President Obama, Gov. Charlie Crist, and Adm. Thad Allen at a briefing with local officials in Pensacola, Florida Tuesday. A new poll indicates nearly half of the public disapproves of how Obama's handling the oil spill.
President Obama, Gov. Charlie Crist, and Adm. Thad Allen at a briefing with local officials in Pensacola, Florida Tuesday. A new poll indicates nearly half of the public disapproves of how Obama's handling the oil spill.

Washington (CNN) – Nearly half of all Americans disapprove of the way President Barack Obama is handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, according to a new national poll released hours before the president gives a prime-time address from the Oval Office on the crisis.

An AP-GfK survey released Tuesday indicates that 48-percent of the public disapproves of how Obama's handling the oil spill, up 15 percentage points from a month ago. Thirty-nine percent approve of how the president's dealing with the crisis, down three points from May. According to the survey, 13- percent say they neither approve nor disapprove.

Other recent polls also indicate that a minority of Americans approve of the way Obama and his administration are handling the massive spill.

The president's overall job approval stands at 50-percent in the new AP-GfK survey, up one point from a month ago.

"Other recent polls have also shown that the oil spill has not affected the overall opinion of Obama's performance in office," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Many Americans may think his track record on the economy, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, and other issues are more important than the situation in the Gulf. It's also possible that the oil spill has affected views of Obama personally but not his performance as president."

The president's prime-time address will come as he returns from a two-day tour of the region, Obama's fourth trip to the Gulf Coast since the environmental disaster began on April 20.

The AP-GfK poll was conducted June 9-14, with 1,002 adults questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.3 percentage points.


Filed under: Energy • Oil spill • Poll • President Obama
soundoff (167 Responses)
  1. Robin

    I love President Obama; however, he may not be able to plug the hole, he can put in place a cleaning crew. Oh wait, if the coast guards intervene the liability shifts to the government.

    June 15, 2010 05:41 pm at 5:41 pm |
  2. Mike Hunt

    Obama is addressing the BP situation the same way he has addressed everything since taking office. He flies by the seat of his pants and when cornered on anything he just blames the previous administration.

    June 15, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  3. msaprilr

    Well, what has the white house done? Seems to me that they have spent many millions of dollars to monitor the situation and assess the impact. But I haven't seen the federal government involved in stopping the leak or cleaning up. I'm not there, though. Is the national guard cleaning up? I thought they were just monitoring the ever-expanding oil slick.

    June 15, 2010 05:42 pm at 5:42 pm |
  4. S. C. C.

    President Obama is doing a wondering job.
    When they are doing these polls – people that I know
    are not asked about the President's approval ratings. They have
    never called me. It seems that they only asked racist bigots. Not those of us that supports the president.

    I was appalled when MSNBC had a documentary of the Tea Party
    Movement.

    Michael Steele was right for once, the American people will not
    accept an African American as the President of the United States.

    June 15, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  5. big papa

    I deeply despise the racist Obama haters (in the media, in the government and around the country)...

    ...but particularly those ignorant Sarah Palinite scum who spew their sick, demonic rhetoric on these sites...

    ...I pray everyday for their humbling...

    ...I hope they get exactly what they deserve...

    ...natural disasters in all of their homes and families...

    June 15, 2010 05:43 pm at 5:43 pm |
  6. Enough

    He's not handling it.....that's the problem. why did Obama refuse the help offered from the Dutch....3 days after the explosion? Why did Obama deny the request of the Governors to the affected states? Why was he out campaigning for Boxer when all of this was going on? Yeah, you could say we disapprove of the job Obama ISN'T doing. But what did you expect from a community organizer that voted "present"?

    June 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  7. MatthewDetroit

    Barack is an idiot.

    Now he wants to nationalize oil.

    He is taking advantage of the situation and he will steal as much money as he can from BP. BP should say NO until the issue is over. They can take care of the clean up first and foremost. They can then look at subsidizing individual loss.

    It is a joke that the president is trying to rip them off.

    THE ENTIRE ISSUE would have been avoided if we were allowed to drill closer to the shore instead of so far off shore. Get real Barack.

    June 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  8. df

    the idea that pres. or a politician can do a particular act which will stop flow of oil is idiotic...it is a techology/science issue and unfortunately, no one really knows how to stop it. The idea that obama is criticized for not being mad enough or that he did not meet with ceo is just stupid..neither gets the oil to stop flowing....the bottom line is that everyone was happy just to get oil/gas to the pump w.o. paying attention to how it gets there...investigative reporting reveals that b.p. and others, with the help of politicians and mma, basically were permitted to drill without adequate safeguards, w.o. all required permits, without comprehensive workable emergency plans, w.o. actual testing of systems, w.o. environmental impact statements, with testing reports being written by oil people and then just copied by govt. (mma)...any time business is permitted to run wild, w.o. proper regulation by government, you always get a mass with the taxpayer getting stuck with the mess....until you fix this problem (banking, coal, oil, financial markets)...you will always end up with a mess and then the average citizen, who has never paid attention to the issues, then starts to complain that the govt./politicians need to do something...the idea that a republican (who normally are against govt. regulations) would get a different result here (ie. oil would not be flowing) is B.S.

    June 15, 2010 05:44 pm at 5:44 pm |
  9. Don

    Americans want to find someone upon whom to take out their frustrations and "Taking the heat" is part of being president.
    There really is not much more President Obama can do, except try to keep people focused upon resolving the problems. The United States government does not have the experience to stop the flow. The oil industry has the best talent and the right equipment for that task. Although, we all may be furious at BP and Halliburton, it will be the efforts of the oil industry that finally solves this problem.
    President Obama is just in a badhplace at a bad time. This too shall pass. He is doing a good job of juggling the many challenges facing America.

    June 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  10. Mark

    I don't think ANY president could get anything done in our country. Our government is simply NOT up to the task. All the bashers here are just that. Bashers for the sake of bashing and that's what the problem is. We must work together. Too many stupid people.

    June 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  11. Emerson

    It is not his job to clean up after the excesses and mistakes of private companies. How about some accountability by those who use our system and its resources for their own profit? The spotlight should be squarely and hotly on BP and its executives and the other two companies involved, and not the President.

    June 15, 2010 05:45 pm at 5:45 pm |
  12. JUST ANOTHER AMERICAN

    The most powerful man in the world is now powerless to stop an oil spill off the American coast??? Let me guess it's President Bush's fault too, right???

    54 days and counting for this oil spill. I have always wanted to try shimp cocktail with crude oil. I hear it taste great!!!!

    June 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  13. Susan L.

    What do these people expect him to do differently exactly? I expect that the majority of haters in the poll are the same 27% who still think George W. Bush was the greatest President ever and that Sarah Palin is a smart feminist woman. In other words, the hard core morons. The rest are frustrated, but I bet you they can't articulate exactly what it is they'd have him do differently for the most part. There are the hardcore leftists, of course, he want him to nationalize the oil companies and shut down all drilling everywhere RIGHT NOW. Those people are nearly as moronic as the Sarah Palin true believers. So President Obama is stuck between a rock and a hard place - a right wing that will hate him no matter what and now a left wing who will hate him because he's not quite the unicorn and pony providing "Progressive" they thought he was. He's what many of us said all along - a pragmatic center-left leader. I'd love to see this solved, but I have faith in President Obama to do the right thing, the sane thing, and the pragmatic thing. This is a problem that should have been addressed long ago while we were all busy in a right wing media induced anti-Muslim frenzy instead.

    June 15, 2010 05:46 pm at 5:46 pm |
  14. MatthewDetroit

    Barack the idiot should be working on the spill and let BP work on plugging the hole.

    The joke is he was very quick to criticize during Katrina but he clearly has a staff that has NO idea what they are doing.

    Hillary was right, the clown is learning on the job at our expense.

    The only thing he knows how to do is spend spend spend spend....
    Record spending heading to 19.5 trillion in debt by 2015.
    He throws 100 billion on the fire like it is nothing.
    STOP Spending and say NO to the Cap and Trade Bill....
    It is ANOTHER bad bill that will kill private business and thus kill jobs...
    We are broke and this clown is taking us down a deeper hole.

    June 15, 2010 05:47 pm at 5:47 pm |
  15. Balls

    the difference is:

    the federal government has training to deal with natural disasters like Hurricanes. The response was terrible for people who were drowning. the FEMA director was unqualified. Bush is to blame for that aftermath

    The federal government is NOT trained in dealing with oil spills miles below the surface. The federal government does not have a back-up plan for this high tech problem. If it were NASA related, it would be on his shoulders since that is under his control.

    If you disagree, list one way the federal government can take any action that would make anything move faster on this oil spill? Several can be named for Katrina's aftermath.

    To make this comparison that somehow Bush and Obama are equal on these two matters is really really really dumb.

    June 15, 2010 05:49 pm at 5:49 pm |
  16. normajean

    It really is amazing how so many of you complainers can come up with a solution that the president and all his men hadn't thought of. The fact that many of these bright ideas have come, been thoroughly looked into or tried and have come up non workable. Just to throw in one..".. The idea of the ships from the Netherlands was run through the advisers and found faulty, { missed that one didn't you, Ron}as so many of the ideas that would only make things worse. If YOU came up with the idea, or read it someplace, do you really think that all of these hard working knowledgable people from the GULF COAST HAVEN'T TRIED THEM?OR AT LEAST DISCUSSED THE POSSIBILITY? What makes you so smart?

    June 15, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  17. Frank Sellers'

    I'd like to see a survey of how popular Louisana Gov. Bobby Jindal is right now. He actually might be very popular given how the media have occasionally tried to make him out a hero for talking tough, but that's easy.

    Let's not forget that he's a Republican and more Republicans than Democrats are in bed with the oil companies. And as governmor of a state which "borders" rich oil fields in the gulf, I'm sure there are many, many connections between Jindal, BP and other oil companies.

    I'd like to see a story of how much money he's taken from them and what his views were on drilling were BEFORE this mess.

    The media are whispering that he might make a good candidate for the 2012 presidential election. If so, then I say it's time for some real vetting (not the McCain kind).

    June 15, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  18. Chris

    Where are the "Drill, Baby, Drill" Republicans who really are at fault for all of this. Obama is getting the brunt of everything. He can handle it! McCain and Palin would have continued drilling and not paid any attention to the coasts. Bush and Cheney created this mess with the big companies. It was all about money. Katrina was forcasted and watched and left alone by Bush. The BP Oil Spill was man made. I hope all of the Oil companies take heed. Where are the Tea Partiers who continues to say less government intervention. Now you need the government.

    June 15, 2010 05:50 pm at 5:50 pm |
  19. Joe Tolifero

    When is the electorate going to grow up? Daddy doesn't have a magic wand and you are pouting? Should Pres. Obama put on a wet suit and scuba to the leak with a clamp and a wrench and fix it? It's an oil spill by an oil company. They bear the responsibility for this. We do not have an oil spill federal team. So get involved if you want to see more action and stop whining. I am a Louisiana resident.

    June 15, 2010 05:51 pm at 5:51 pm |
  20. Joe

    The president can not make his decision on the basis of poll numbers. Especially when those poll number reflect the fundamental immaturity and childish attitude of the average American. "I want it and I want it now" is not a realistic metric by which to measure any crisis or the handling of a crisis.

    June 15, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  21. stewart gilligan griffin

    JUST ANOTHER AMERICAN-i guess you forgot it was clinton's fault for 3 years or so (as we heard from every repub). this is JUST one american telling just another american to try and remember a little history. way to underwhelm there chief. thank you very little for your keen memory. dope

    June 15, 2010 05:52 pm at 5:52 pm |
  22. Disgusted

    I'm disgusted by the Republicans and Tea Party people. Drill and Drill and Drill. See what happens? Learn your lesson now? Obama has to clean-up your mess...yet again!

    June 15, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  23. Bella

    Let us see , America is one , if not the largest consumer of fossil fuels , BP has 40% British and 39% American shareholders , crews on the rigs were mainly Americans and rules and regulations were set and implemented by the federal Government.
    What has the President done so far .., not much.!!
    It is slowly coming out now that many international OIL SPILL Response organization had offered their help , expertise and equipment when the spill started and were totally ignored by the White House.
    Instead of leadership and informed executive decision making , we saw the President delivering stupid threats and resorting to juvenile talk like who's a... he was going to kick.
    Obama's actions have been disgraceful and he should be held accountable , not just BP.

    June 15, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  24. al in memphis

    Even the most stupidly ran company is not in the business of losing billions of dollars and creating billions in liabiltiy. That said most reasonable people should think that if a quick solution was out there, BP would have jump on it.

    If the people who have a billion reasons to resolve this haven't then that should tell you something about whether the government should be prepared to deal with all the possible emergency that private business can create. About 30 years ago when they thought about deep water drilling, they should have thought about safety procedures to match. But since small government (in all areas) is the solution, I guess their was no one looking over their shoulders to make sure they did what they was supposed to do.
    But now that Obama is Pres - he should have done it 30 years ago.

    June 15, 2010 05:53 pm at 5:53 pm |
  25. Sorensen

    Axelrod and Emanuel are not doing their jobs. And it is at least
    the third time.
    They might be good friends of Obama, but this is getting to much
    fiasko. Hillary would be 10 times better than the sum of both of them.
    This is not about friends. It is about the american people.
    Yoy want McConnell and Bohner to take over?

    June 15, 2010 05:54 pm at 5:54 pm |
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