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Politics of the Gulf gusher: 83% of Dems call it a disaster vs. 32% of GOPers (5/28)

May 28, 2010
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Positive opinion about the federal government's handling of a British Petroleum (BP) Gulf of Mexico oil spill is down 13 points from two weeks ago, dropping from 29% to 16%, a new Zogby Interactive survey finds.

Currently, 16% rate the federal government's response to the spill as excellent or good. The same question in a May 7-10 Zogby Interactive survey found a total of 29% giving a positive rating.

Opinion of British Petroleum's handling of the spill is also down from the previous poll, going from positive ratings of 25% then to just 15% now.

The Zogby Interactive survey of 2,085 adults was conducted from May 25-27, 2010, and has a margin of error of +/-2.2%.

The survey also asked respondents which of the following descriptions best matched their opinion about the spill's impact:
  • 58% say the spill is, "A disaster that will cause long-term environmental and economic damage."
  • 28% say it, "Is a problem that will cause some short-term environmental and economic damage on the Gulf Coast."
  • 11% say, "The potential damage caused by the spill is being exaggerated."

There are significant partisan differences, with 83% of Democrats calling the spill a "disaster," compared to 32% of Republicans and 51% of independents.

Another question from both surveys referred to a statement from the Obama Administration that one of its primary roles is, "Keeping the boot on the neck of BP." The number of those who agree with that statement dropped from 42% on May 10 to 33% now.

Despite the spill, the percentage of adults who agree that, "Offshore drilling is still a safe, reliable and cost-efficient method of producing oil," remains unchanged from May 10 at 58%. Agreement that expansion of offshore drilling will lead to increased environmental problems is also unchanged at 51%.

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