Washington (CNN) – Is the Gulf of Mexico oil spill Barack Obama's Katrina?
The first poll conducted after the president's Tuesday night prime-time address to the nation on the spill offers evidence that the public's view of Obama's leadership is following the same pattern that George W. Bush experienced after Hurricane Katrina slammed into the Gulf Coast in 2005.
In the wake of Katrina, the number of Americans who thought Bush was a strong and decisive leader dropped by more than 10 points. According to a CNN/Opinion Research Corporation survey released Thursday, the number who currently think Obama is a strong and decisive leader has dropped by seven points, from 60 percent in January to 53 percent now.
The poll also indicates that fewer Americans think that Obama is tough enough to handle a crisis or that he can manage the government effectively. Fifty-three percent say the president is tough enough to handle a crisis, down 11 points from last year. And 49 percent say Obama can manage the government effectively, a drop of nine points from last year.
But on other dimensions, opinion of Obama holds up well - no change in the number who say he inspires confidence, that he is sincere, and that he cares about people.
"Obama's experience in the Gulf also differs from Bush's in one significant way - his overall approval rating at 50 percent, is virtually unchanged. Bush, by contrast, saw his overall approval rating drop by up to six points during September and October of 2005, although the change was not instantaneous, and his approval rating bounced around a bit during that time," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland.
How did the public react to Obama's first prime-time address from the Oval Office?
Roughly a third of all Americans say they heard or listened to some of the speech, which is fairly low in comparison to previous speeches given by Obama, and those who watched the speech were split in their opinion of the address.
53 percent of speech-watchers questioned in the poll say they had a positive reaction to the speech, with 47 percent saying they had a negative reaction.
"Obama's first State of the Union address got a positive reaction from nearly eight in ten Americans who watched that speech. One likely reason for the tepid reaction to this week's address is widespread skepticism that the federal government can achieve the objectives that Obama set forth on Tuesday night," adds Holland.
According to the poll, 58 percent are not confident that the government can prevent another oil spill like the one plaguing the Gulf today, and 68 percent are not confident that the government can restore the Gulf to its former condition.
The survey indicates that 63 percent are not confident that the government can reduce the demand for oil in this country, and 53 percent are uncertain whether the government will be able to make BP pay for all the damage it caused.
The CNN/Opinion Research Corporation poll was conducted Wednesday, June 16, with 534 adult Americans questioned by telephone. The survey's overall sampling error is plus or minus 4.5 percentage points.
CNN Deputy Political Director Paul Steinhauser contributed to this report