June 7th, 2010
02:46 PM ET
13 years ago

Poll: Oil spill a major disaster


Workers clean up oil residue on Pensacola Beach in Florida. (PHOTO CREDIT: Getty Images)

Washington (CNN) - Nearly three out of four Americans say the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a major environmental disaster, and a majority wants legal action against BP and its partners, according to a new national poll.

An ABC News/Washington Post survey released Monday indicates that 73 percent of the public considers the spill a major environmental disaster, with one in four saying it's a serious problem but not an environmental disaster.

Fifty-one percent of people questioned in the poll say that they feel strongly that the federal government should pursue criminal charges against BP and the other companies involved in the spill, with another 14 percent saying they feel somewhat strongly that Washington should pursue criminal charges, and 28 percent saying no to such action.

The Justice Department launched both criminal and civil investigations into the disaster in recent days.

According to the survey, nearly seven in ten say the federal government's done a not so good or poor job handling the spill, with more than eight in ten giving BP a thumbs down. The poll indicates that this dissatisfaction crosses party lines.

The ABC News/Washington Post poll was conducted June 3-6, with 1,004 adults 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: Energy
soundoff (42 Responses)
  1. Duck Fallas

    27% of those surveyed should dump a quart of 10w30 into their bathwater tomorrow.

    June 7, 2010 02:48 pm at 2:48 pm |
  2. Angus McDugan

    Not by the poll that Obama uses. He would rather ignore it because he can't manage it.

    June 7, 2010 02:50 pm at 2:50 pm |
  3. Jeff

    It's time to nationalize BP's American operations.

    Sorry if you still own stock in BP, you are a moron.

    June 7, 2010 02:51 pm at 2:51 pm |
  4. Naqib

    I'd like to know what the other one out of four would call this if not Major?????

    70% say the fed did a poor job... also wonder what the other 30% thought was good.... this has all been pathetic

    June 7, 2010 02:54 pm at 2:54 pm |
  5. Michael in Orlando

    And yet the Good Republicans are denying this is an environmental disaster.. Hmmmmmmmmm

    June 7, 2010 03:00 pm at 3:00 pm |
  6. Huh?

    Who are the 30% who say it's not a major environmental disaster?

    Is it the same 30% who thought W was an awesome Prez?

    Is there some way to round up these 30% and stuff them into the oil geyser?

    June 7, 2010 03:01 pm at 3:01 pm |
  7. Robert

    God is angry. The religious right has been focusing on the wrong sin all these years:

    Leviticus 11:10 reads, "But whatever is in the seas and in the rivers that does not have fins and scales among all the teeming life of the water, and among all the living creatures that are in the water, they are detestable things to you."

    June 7, 2010 03:06 pm at 3:06 pm |
  8. Remember the Alamo

    This is so obvious it is a staged photograph. Look at the white clothing. Not a smudge on them. If thes two were really working there would be multitudes of smudges on their trousers. There is no one else on this beach but these two would-be actors. They are probably going to wind up having the Tax Payer pay their $25.00 an hour salary. Thank you OBAMA for another change.

    June 7, 2010 03:12 pm at 3:12 pm |
  9. Pelosi is a see-you-en-tea

    The beach cleanup is the only new jobs created that wern't Census related in last weeks job report.

    June 7, 2010 03:15 pm at 3:15 pm |
  10. FM

    New off shore drilling must be cancelled for ever. Everyone has witnessed how bad it is. If there is an alternative of not using oil, why destroy the environment by drilling as there is no guarantee this will not happen again!

    June 7, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  11. obama victim

    what was left out of the story is that 69% thing Obama has failed....compared to 62 % who thought Bush faile after Katrina......Obozo...one and gone...C ya

    June 7, 2010 03:16 pm at 3:16 pm |
  12. M. Carpenter

    I say it might be better if the oil washes up on shore, rather than killing the marine life in the ocean. We can get it off the beaches once in washes up. I hate to see it enter the marshlands/lowlands around beaches though.

    June 7, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  13. Ana

    I guess it depends on how close the spill is to you. Here in the "Forgotten Coast" there's no sign of oil. Our beaches are clean, clear and beautiful so we may not consider it much of a disaster at this point. Although, because of the scare, vwww.clearfloridacoast.com reports beach rentals have lowered their rates, perhaps having negative impact on the bed tax partners... but its a positive thing for anyone looking for a great beach vacation deal.

    June 7, 2010 03:20 pm at 3:20 pm |
  14. Victim of GOP Taliban

    How do you definte "major" ? Also civil and criminal investigations are extremely subjective. MMS has literally been in bed with Big Oil for decades. Some can argue over 100 years if you include Standard Oil aka Chevron.

    Why now when there is the worst oil spill in U.S. history does the government finally seem to care about ethics/integrity dealing with the most powerful industry in the nation?

    June 7, 2010 03:22 pm at 3:22 pm |
  15. Phil in KC

    I'm not so much surprised by the 73% who say that it is a disaster as much as I am by the 27% who say it is not. Do we really have that many people in this country who are in denial? Or were there that many people in the poll employed by BP?

    June 7, 2010 03:23 pm at 3:23 pm |
  16. Dano

    Nearly three out of four Americans say the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is a major environmental disaster, and a majority wants legal action against BP and its partners, according to a new national poll.

    What hole have the other 25% had theirs heads stuck in for the last 6 weeks? Nevermind I think I already know!

    June 7, 2010 03:27 pm at 3:27 pm |
  17. Chessnutz of Liverpool NY

    What I do not understand is the fact that these Corporations, banks, insurance companies seem to be able to break the law at will with no consequences? The law seems to only apply to individuals and not Big Businesses.
    A kid smoking a joint will go to jail and be a felon for life, but a too big to fail business can overlook workers safety, government regulations, commit fraud and insider trading and they get nothing?

    June 7, 2010 03:30 pm at 3:30 pm |
  18. John D

    I them to want to pursue crimininal charges against the Obozo administration for being complete idiots and showing just how incompetant those supposedely intelligent people are not that bright. Obozos running around the country holding speeches and being serenade by the idiot Paul. He should have taken cointrol of the cleanup immediately. For once I wish he would do something right for the country. Loser!

    June 7, 2010 03:34 pm at 3:34 pm |
  19. JK Ashburn, VA

    And these are the same morons who, if more federal regulations limit deepwater drilling and cause the price of gas to jump 25 cents per gallon, will be howling that more needs to be done to regulate the price of gas.

    Most time, these polls aren't worth the CO2 is requires to conduct them.

    June 7, 2010 03:35 pm at 3:35 pm |
  20. JK Ashburn, VA

    I wonder if, amongst those 51%, there are any pseudo-lawyers who would even have a clue as to which laws were broken that would justify criminal or civil charges. Lots of opinions, I'm sure. Blissfully devoid of facts, I am also sure.

    June 7, 2010 03:36 pm at 3:36 pm |
  21. Glenn Beckstien

    The government is completely at fault here just like they are to blame for all our countrys problems, Privatizing the entire gulf of Mexico is the solution.

    June 7, 2010 03:43 pm at 3:43 pm |
  22. Allen Hussein

    Let me guess, the 28% that are opposed to criminal charges being filed are tea baggers who want the government to butt out in the affiars of business.

    June 7, 2010 03:45 pm at 3:45 pm |
  23. Willy Brown

    I love how the liberal media is trying so hard to keep Barry out of this and casting all the blame on "Big Oil". If Barry was a republican you liberals would have been all over him like glue, amaizing . It's Obama's fault!

    June 7, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  24. aneanderthal

    Don't worry, we have a slimy, corrupt, inept president on the case when he is not hobnobbing with dignitaries or receiving weird jokes from foreign drug fiends concerning Bush. He is accepting the responsibility while blaming everyone else in typical weird, libertard fashion.

    June 7, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
  25. Get A Grip

    And from an ABC News/ Washington Post poll regarding this oil spill..........

    "more people give the federal government's response a negative rating than did the response to Hurricane Katrina."

    No surprise here with the way this administration has failed to take care of this oil spill.

    June 7, 2010 03:46 pm at 3:46 pm |
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