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Poll explains WHY people dislike handling of spill

The other day I noted that polls never seem to ask people why they disapprove of Obama's handling of the Gulf spill, making it easier for folks to continue arguing that people don't like his performance because he hasn't been angry or emotional enough.

Now there's a new Associated Press poll that -- finally! -- sheds some light on this question. And while the poll doesn't prove this, it strongly suggests that people's primary objection is to the substance of the government's response, rather than the theatrics and emotional content of his performance.

The poll found that 52% disapprove of the handling of the spill, but it went much further: It asked people whether they agreed with a variety of emotional reactions to it. The ones that garnered the strongest reactions all concerned the substance of the response:

* Seventy-four percent felt very or somewhat angry that the leak was taking so long to get plugged. (Duh.)

* Fifty-three percent felt "less confident in the government's ability to regulate what companies are doing to the environment."

* Sixty-three percent felt "surprised that technology didn't exist to quickly stop the leak."

There was only one question that came close to gauging whether people felt emotionally reassured by the tenor of Obama's response: It asked whether people feel generally less safe now. Only 32 percent do.

Granted, the poll didn't directly ask people if they felt Obama has been too Spock-like or hasn't been a Strong Enough Daddy. But clearly, people mainly disapprove because the government has failed to coordinate a response that has stopped the spill; because it didn't anticipate and prepare for disasters of this magnitude; and because it didn't adequately regulate the oil companies to prevent such calamities in advance.

By Greg Sargent  |  June 15, 2010; 3:10 PM ET
Categories:  Climate change , Political media  
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Next: How to quiet those Jimmy Carter comparisons

Comments

"I know what I want and I want it NOW!!" should be th motto of the USA. But take care when using that horse for a ride. The same horse that races into Washington can leave just as fast.

Posted by: GaryEMasters | June 15, 2010 3:24 PM | Report abuse

Greg,

You keep over examining this. It is not all that complicated.

I saw what was going to unfold, several weeks ago, and said so on this blog.

It is very simple to explain why the polls are where they are.

It is almost impossible for anyone to say that they are satisfied with how the man made disaster has been handled, while the oil is still pouring into the gulf waters, on an ongoing basis.

In A Nutshell;

The problems is the massive Oil Spill.

The satisfactory solution: The Oil Spill has been completely stopped, and BP has been held fully accountable, and has reimbursed fully, for all the damage and recovery costs.

Until that has actually happened; how can anyone actually give their unconditional approval?

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 3:28 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "But clearly, people mainly disapprove because the government ...didn't adequately regulate the oil companies to prevent such calamities in advance."

Can you point me to the results in the poll that support this assertion?

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 3:33 PM | Report abuse

Dan Henninger recently wrote a piece for the Wall St Journal which argues that the oil spill should be the ultimate proof of the shortcomings of government.

The overwhelming majority of the follow-up comments indicated a strong belief that we poor dumb old leftists will be too blind, too stupid, or too worshipful of the President to recognize the obvious truth in Mr. Henninger's opinions.

I can only say that if we leftists are blind, then I can only wonder what degree of sensory deprivation is necessary in order to come to the bizarre conclusion that a failure of a private corporation, demonstrates the shortcomings of government.

Posted by: anthony002 | June 15, 2010 3:37 PM | Report abuse

SBJ:

* Fifty-three percent felt "less confident in the government's ability to regulate what companies are doing to the environment."

Presumably that's something they're unhappy about.

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 15, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

BP: Ship fire halts oil capture in Gulf

BP says lightning strike and fire on ship halts containment of oil leaking from Gulf

Jun 15, 2010 14:52 EDT

A bolt of lightning struck the ship capturing oil from the blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, igniting a fire that halted containment efforts in another setback for the embattled company in its nearly two-month struggle to stop the spill, the company said.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured. BP said it hopes to resume containing oil from the well sometime Tuesday afternoon.

The fire occurred on the Discoverer Enterprise, where engineers are siphoning about 630,000 gallons of oil a day through a cap on top of the well.

"At the moment, there's no capture, no containment going on, but we'll start up the Enterprise when it's safe to do so," BP spokesman Robert Wine said.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/06/bp_ship_fire_halts_oil_capture_in_gulf.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 15, 2010 3:38 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: "Fifty-three percent felt "less confident in the government's ability to regulate what companies are doing to the environment."

That does not support your assertion that "people mainly disapprove because the government ...didn't adequately regulate the oil companies to prevent such calamities in advance."

One could just as easily read that result to say that people don't think it's even possible to regulate away such disasters.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 3:42 PM | Report abuse


BP: Ship fire halts oil capture in Gulf

BP says lightning strike and fire on ship halts containment of oil leaking from Gulf

Jun 15, 2010 14:52 EDT

A bolt of lightning struck the ship capturing oil from the blown-out BP well in the Gulf of Mexico on Tuesday, igniting a fire that halted containment efforts in another setback for the embattled company in its nearly two-month struggle to stop the spill, the company said.

The fire was quickly extinguished and no one was injured. BP said it hopes to resume containing oil from the well sometime Tuesday afternoon.

The fire occurred on the Discoverer Enterprise, where engineers are siphoning about 630,000 gallons of oil a day through a cap on top of the well.

"At the moment, there's no capture, no containment going on, but we'll start up the Enterprise when it's safe to do so," BP spokesman Robert Wine said.

http://www.talkingpointsmemo.com/news/2010/06/bp_ship_fire_halts_oil_capture_in_gulf.php?ref=fpa

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 15, 2010 3:38 PM

................

Add to that; the following story, and you have wonder why those Right Wing Christian Ayatollahs are not wondering out loud, what message their "God" is sending them.


"6-story Jesus statue in Ohio struck by lightning

(AP) – 34 minutes ago

MONROE, Ohio — Hundreds of sightseers drawn to the remains of a six-story-tall statue of Jesus Christ that was struck by lightning and erupted into flames stopped Tuesday to snap pictures or gaze at the ruined structure.

The "King of Kings" statue, one of southwest Ohio's most familiar landmarks, had stood since 2004 at the evangelical Solid Rock Church along Interstate 75 in Monroe, just north of Cincinnati.

The lightning strike set the statue ablaze around 11:15 p.m. Monday, Monroe police dispatchers said."

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 3:48 PM | Report abuse

If Jerry Falwell were still around;

He would be explaining that the BP Gulf Water Oil Spill Disaster was a way that "God" was punishing America for Rush Limbaugh having sullied his fourth traditional marriage ceremony with the presence of Elton John.

Rush FemiPatsy is from one of the Gulf States, so "God" is lashing out at the Gulf, because of Rush having a gay man entertain at his fourth traditional marriage ceremony.

I am sure that Pat Robertson will explain it all to his followers, in the next day or so.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 3:54 PM | Report abuse

It is clear that America is READY for a new energy commitment, even if the Republican Party is not. We need to move FORWARD with or without them.

Seriously, check out the results of this poll, which only corroborates my thoughts:

http://www.politico.com/static/PPM130_jb.html

Posted by: Ethan2010 | June 15, 2010 3:55 PM | Report abuse

Liam, did you see the pics of the big touchdown Jesus before and after the lightning?

You gotta see this:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/06/15/jesus-diaf/

Dear religious right, start praying for forgiveness.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 15, 2010 4:12 PM | Report abuse

O/T: Proof that 21% of the voting public is crazy?

"DeMint...earns support from 58% of Likely Voters in South Carolina, while Democratic nominee Alvin Greene picks up 21% of the vote."

21%

!!!

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 4:14 PM | Report abuse

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/06/15/jesus-diaf/

BG, the comments on that thread are hilarious. Leave it to the Juicers, huh?

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

sbj, think of that more of 21% refuse to vote for Jim Deminted under any circumstances.

Posted by: holyhandgrenaid | June 15, 2010 4:18 PM | Report abuse

sbj, what that proves, clearly, is that 100% of South Carolina is crazy.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 15, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse

The median American person is not only much smarter than the media thinks they are, they are actually much, much smarter than the median member of the media.

This is the secret of Barack Obama's success. He doesn't treat people like idiots.

Posted by: theorajones1 | June 15, 2010 4:19 PM | Report abuse


Liam, did you see the pics of the big touchdown Jesus before and after the lightning?

You gotta see this:

http://www.balloon-juice.com/2010/06/15/jesus-diaf/

Dear religious right, start praying for forgiveness.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 15, 2010 4:12 PM
..................

That looks like a very serious injury that "God" inflicted on "Touchdown Jesus". He will probably be in a full body cast, and held out of the "Do You Believe In Miracles" playoffs, this year.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 4:20 PM | Report abuse

sue, the Balloon Juice crowd can seriously bring the snark.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 15, 2010 4:21 PM | Report abuse

For the previous decade, Dems taught American a that everything bad that happens is the President's fault.

Now they aren't so happy about that.

Posted by: quarterback1 | June 15, 2010 4:25 PM | Report abuse

@Liam

"Until that has actually happened; how can anyone actually give their unconditional approval?"

Exactly. As long as it goes on, fairly or not, both BP and the Government are going to see trust in them drop. The whole idea is that BP should be able to handle it's own mess, and the Government is around for exactly these types of emergencies.

The shame is, Republicans have spent 30 years chipping away at the ability of Government to do ANYTHING. This is the result. I just wish Dems would start saying so, and point out how it's not "Government" that's the problem, it's Republicans running/defunding Government that's the problem.

and speaking of problems...

@Greg

I'm sorry, but I'm confused as to why you ever both to respond to sbj at this point. He's already managed to write you off as a journalist - claiming that you are putting forth a consious effort to help Harry Reid win re-election.

I'll hammer you when I think you're wrong, but I don't recall a time where I flat out questioned your journalistic integrity or ethics.

But hey, maybe the trollish right-wing bullying of "you're a liberal media elite" shtick will work, and you'll give sbj's GOP better coverage. It's worked for Republicans for 30 years...why stop now, right?

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 15, 2010 4:34 PM | Report abuse

"President Obama to visit Ohio; 62-foot statue of Jesus explodes

"The White House Tuesday announced that President Obama will travel to Ohio on Friday...
In other Ohio news, a 62-foot statue of Jesus exploded Monday night after lightning struck the 6-story-tall structure.

"...Outside of geographical location, the two news items are probably not related."

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/washington/2010/06/president-obama-to-visit-ohio-62foot-statue-of-jesus-explodes.html

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 4:35 PM | Report abuse

Agree, BBQ, when sbj is in troll mode (not always, to be fair), he is safely ignored. I don't think Greg needs to defend himself from the pointless concern trolling.

Agree also on the GOP and its relentless pursuit of broken government.

It's really hard to overestimate the bad faith involved in the right wing project: all the benefits of society with none of the responsibility or hard work.

Posted by: BGinCHI | June 15, 2010 4:37 PM | Report abuse

@Greg: You hear that?

Stop answering me!

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 4:40 PM | Report abuse

theorajones:

"This is the secret of Barack Obama's success. He doesn't treat people like idiots. "

Perhaps he's just good at convincing idiots that they aren't being treated like idiots, which, if you think about it, isn't very hard because, well, they're idiots.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 15, 2010 4:46 PM | Report abuse

Giant Flaming Jesus appears in Ohio.

Right Wing Christian Leaders huddle to plan strategy, for how to cure Flaming Jesus, and get him interested in a nice woman.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Soul-less Slave (and alleged pedestrian) Liamility:

"Add to that; the following story, and you have wonder why those Right Wing Christian Ayatollahs are not wondering out loud, what message their "God" is sending them."

Easy interpretation, dog.

No more awl/url/oy-yull for Ohio unless they get their minds right and elect John Kasich.

God Wills It!

BTW, did Slum Line get linked to someone else last thread?

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 15, 2010 4:48 PM | Report abuse

Fear not Bilgey.

Giant Flaming Jesus appears in Ohio.

Right Wing Christian Leaders huddle to plan strategy, for how to cure Flaming Jesus, and get him interested in a nice woman.


Expert help has been called in. Pastor Ted Haggert is on his way to Ohio, to cure Flaming Jesus.

Posted by: Liam-still | June 15, 2010 4:52 PM | Report abuse

ScottC3:
"Perhaps he's just good at convincing idiots that they aren't being treated like idiots, which, if you think about it, isn't very hard because, well, they're idiots."

You're over-intellectualizing this, champ.

The secret of Obama's success is that his supporters ARE idiots.

He's wiped his behind with the campaign promises he made to these stooges, literally has enslaved them, and yet look at how they worship him.

They would die for him, and he wouldn't even slow down his limousine for them if he saw them lying in the gutter bleeding.
(Which, with the passage of Socialist Utopia ObamaCare, may literally come to pass).

Posted by: Bilgeman | June 15, 2010 4:53 PM | Report abuse

@bbq and BG: "He's already managed to write you off as a journalist - claiming that you are putting forth a consious effort to help Harry Reid win re-election."

To be fair to Greg: He would tell us that he reports things as he learns them, and that he would never withhold info in order to release it in such a way that would be more damaging to anyone.

Posted by: sbj3 | June 15, 2010 4:56 PM | Report abuse

bbq:

"...claiming that you are putting forth a consious effort to help Harry Reid win re-election."

"Claiming"...right. Because it is entirely plausible that in Greg's dogged pursuit of truth and justice he manages to uncover a single damaging nugget from Angle's past each day.

Ah the drip, drip drip of random, entirely unplanned and uncoordinated pieces of micro-scandal.

Posted by: ScottC3 | June 15, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

" 62-foot statue of Jesus exploded Monday night after lightning struck the 6-story-tall structure."

Zeus 1
Jesus 0

Posted by: suekzoo1 | June 15, 2010 5:03 PM | Report abuse

All, here's the best way for Obama to dispel the Jimmy Carter comparisons:

http://voices.washingtonpost.com/plum-line/2010/06/how_to_quiet_those_jimmy_carte.html

Posted by: Greg Sargent | June 15, 2010 5:10 PM | Report abuse

@sbj

"@Greg: You hear that? Stop answering me!"

Don't misunderstand me, I'm not telling him to do anything. I'm merely confused as to why he still seems to take you even remotely seriously, when you've clearly shown that you would happily attempt to discredit his work by claiming he's a partisan hack, just because he posts something "bad" about your party (Anti-Dem).

"To be fair to Greg..."

I'm pretty sure accusing that he's manufacturing a scandal in an effort to help Democrats show's you're done being fair to Greg.

Again...I've taken Greg to task on things. I still think he's wrong on some things, and on some things I've come around to see his side and agree. But I've never claimed he had an agenda, which is what you're doing.

It's a very common GOP tactic...

Posted by: TheBBQChickenMadness | June 15, 2010 6:37 PM | Report abuse

So let me get this straight. FOX can feature softball interviews with Ms. Angle, but when this blog quotes what she has actually said, it is Greg who is a hack?

Sounds like the problem is with Ms. Angle, not anything that Greg is doing..

Posted by: anthony002 | June 15, 2010 6:44 PM | Report abuse

You, Mr. Obama, are a lying, opportunistic, self-serving politician! I was hoping and praying that your common sense and intelligence would forbid you from making a deal with the devil. But no, you decided to sell your soul, if you ever had one, to achieve your own personal agenda of Cap and Trade Bill 2454 using this Gulf oil spill & BP as your scapegoat! Are you that arrogant or that clueless? Because it would take both character traits to try to manipulate the horrible, unforeseen environmental disaster to convince the American people to pass this climate control legislation to benefit your own agenda. WE ALL KNOW WE NEED TO FIND ALTERNATIVE ENERGY SOURCE in the near future BUT the reality is that we are dependent on oil and coal as energy. And by passing this massive legislation would only benefit countries like China who will continue to pollute our global environment and our sacrifice will barely make any great impact UNLESS this legislation becomes globally enforced!

This legislation, just like your health care legislation, will only impose further restrictions on individual freedom and corporate economic activity at the expense of greater cost for individuals. It may not seem much to face a 9% increase in health insurance cost or a projected $178 electricity bill for millionaires like yourself, Mr. Obama, but for me and my parents, this will place a SIGNIFICANT burden on individuals.

You have managed in 30 minutes to manipulate the catastrophe for your own agenda and to anger BP, who whether we like it or not, we have a co-dependent relationship, and have given NO incentive for them to voluntarily cooperate for moral reasons. What makes you think, other than your arrogance, that BP will “voluntarily” agree to NOT pay their shareholders dividends and to put the funds in an escrow account, especially with your antagonistic, judgmental, condemning attitude? What makes you possibly think that BP would NOT rather take the risk of a lengthy litigation (Valdez took 20 years and ended up paying only $500 million in compensation after all the litigation) over their moral and ethical responsibility won over by your aura of leadership? If I were BP or Tony Hayward, I would respectfully decline to answer to ANY of the incompetent congress and let the legal system take its course. I would rather spend the money, which should and would have gone to those needing compensation in the Gulf, to fight in the legal system. And this is the hell that you and you alone created for all these people!

How do you feel having kicked the a$$ of millions of God-fearing Americans who wish that they NEVER allowed you into office to have done such damage to our country???


Posted by: american17 | June 15, 2010 8:25 PM | Report abuse

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