Will this month become known in political history as the month where for some of the time Barack Obama fund-raised while a Gulf oil pipe horribly spewed? Whether it does or not, one thing is now certain: a new poll suggests that Obama, the federal government and British Petrolium have gotten “F” grades from the public:
The oil spill off the Gulf Coast is staining more than Louisiana’s beaches.
The response to the disaster by energy giant BP, President Obama and the federal government all get terrible grades from Americans in a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll.
Nearly three-fourths of those surveyed Monday and Tuesday say BP is doing a “poor” or “very poor” job in handling the calamity. Six of 10 say that of the federal government. And a 53% majority give Obama a poor rating.
….The catastrophe has boosted concern about the environment over development of new energy supplies — a long-time balancing act in American politics.
Now, a majority say protection of the environment should be given priority, “even at the risk of limiting energy supplies.”
The 55%-39% divide on that question was a reversal of American views in March, before the April 20 explosion sent crude oil spewing into the gulf. Then, by 50%-43% Americans said development U.S. energy supplies should be given priority, “even if the environment suffers to some extent.”
On a similar question, those surveyed divided 50%-43% over whether the environment should be protected “even at the risk of curbing economy growth” or if growth should be given priority, “even if the environment suffers to some extent.
The poll also found:
That post contained some peppery quotes from Democratic strategist James Carville who has blasted the administration’s response to the crisis. And this morning on Good Morning America he was even more blunt:
The “political stupidity is unbelievable,” Democratic strategist James Carville said on “Good Morning America” today. “The president doesn’t get down here in the middle of this. … I have no idea of why they didn’t seize this thing. I have no idea of why their attitude was so hands off here.”
….But Carville said the Obama administration’s response to the BP oil spill has been “lackadaisical,” and that rather than place the blame on the previous administration, it should’ve done more to deal with BP and “inept bureaucrats,” which would’ve in turn helped boost Obama’s approval ratings.
“The president of the United States could’ve come down here, he could’ve been involved with the families of these 11 people” who died on the offshore rig, Carville said. “He could’ve demanded a plan in anticipation of this.”
“It just looks like he’s not involved in this,” an angry Carville said on “GMA.” “Man, you got to get down here and take control of this, put somebody in charge of this thing and get this moving. We’re about to die down here.”
Go to the link and watch the video. He says even more.
The bottom line: if Carville is saying what he is, Obama is on the verge of major political trouble — if the oil has not already been cast…
The copyrighted cartoon by John Darkow, Columbia Daily Tribune, Missouri, is licensed to run on TMV. Unauthorized reproduction prohibited. All rights reserved.
UPDATE: To put this poll within the proper context, here’s the Pollster.com graph showing and average of various poll results which now shows a national job approval rating of 47.7% disapprove versus 47.2% approve. Which means a lot will hinge on what happens in coming weeks — and how Obama responds or initiates.
Joe Gandelman is a former fulltime journalist who freelanced in India, Spain, Bangladesh and Cypress writing for publications such as the Christian Science Monitor and Newsweek. He also did radio reports from Madrid for NPR’s All Things Considered. He has worked on two U.S. newspapers and quit the news biz in 1990 to go into entertainment. He also has written for The Week and several online publications, did a column for Cagle Cartoons Syndicate and has appeared on CNN.