Americans Divided on Gulf Oil Spill

A new poll by Gallup clearly shows that America is split down the middle when considering the implications and responsibilities of the Gulf of Mexico Oil Spill.

First and foremost for Americans to decide is whether the federal government should maintain the moratorium on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico, or lift it and allow drilling to resume prior to the November deadline.

The Moratorium

Across the nation, 47% of adults believe the six-month ban which Obama first issued in May should be lifted while 46% believe it should be left in place.

This split becomes a little wider however when looking at the gender and partisan samples. 54% of men believe the ban should be lifted while 41% of women believe it should be left in place, holding with the consistent theory that women are generally more pro-environment than men.

While not surprisingly the partisan gap was split pretty heavily down the middle, with 64% of Democrats believing the ban should be kept in place and 66% of Republicans believing it should be lifted.

As to whether BP should ever be allowed to drill in the same area, a perception question that cannot really be based on anything other than gut feeling, 49% believe yes they should be allowed while 46% believe they shouldn’t.

BP’s Ratings

Another question that has been posed to Americans several times since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and sunk, killing 11, earlier this year, was how BP and Obama had been handling the situation. Once again, it is a question that comes from almost no actual intelligence or information, but one that is reported time and time again nevertheless.

BP’s handling of the situation has increased since the June survey, rising from a 16% approval rating to 31%. Nevertheless, the disapproval is still high, sitting at 64% of Americans feeling that BP has not handled the situation well.

On the other hand there is Obama’s handling of the situation, with stats that clearly suggest no one is entirely sure what Obama should have been doing in the first place, let alone whether he was doing it well or not.

44% of those surveyed approve with how Barack Obama has handled the oil spill, a number that is steady with the last round of surveys in late June, and up 4% from earlier that same month. Similarly his disapproval rating has stayed steady at 48% for the last two surveys, up 2% from early June.


In reality, something as intricate and dangerous as an oil spill this large is never going to be understood by the general public, those people specifically focused on by Gallup and other surveys. However Americans have been shocked by the damage, with 44% of those surveyed saying it was worse than they had thought it would be.

The end result though is the same as it has always been; BP BAD.

Source: Gallup
Image Source: US Coast Guard

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