6/30: 57% Say Obama’s Handling of Gulf Spill Same As Bush’s Katrina

President George Bush’s handling of Hurricane Katrina was a black mark on his administration, and now, there’s bad news for his successor.  Nearly six in ten voters nationwide — 57% — say President Barack Obama’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico is either the same or worse than Bush’s handling of Katrina.  This includes 34% who report Obama’s management of the disaster is comparable and 23% who view it as worse.  37%, however, say he is handling the crisis better than Bush managed Katrina.  6% are unsure.

Controlled burns were part of the effort to reduce the amount of oil in the Gulf. Photo, from May 19, 2010, courtesy of John Kepsimelis, U.S. Coast Guard.

Controlled burns were part of the effort to reduce the amount of oil in the Gulf. Photo, from May 19, 2010, courtesy of John Kepsimelis, U.S. Coast Guard.

Click Here for Complete June 30, 2010 USA Poll Release and Tables

While nearly six in ten Democrats — 59% — believe the president is handling the crisis better than how his predecessor dealt with Hurricane Katrina, one-third of Democrats say Mr. Obama is dealing with it only about the same or worse.  This includes 28% who say the president’s management is on par with Mr. Bush’s and 5% who report it is worse.  Not surprisingly, most Republicans — 80% — believe President Obama has demonstrated equal or worse crisis management skills than President Bush.  44% think they are comparable, and 36% believe they are worse.  14% say he is handling it better.  Independents align more with Republicans.  63% rank Obama’s management as either on the same level as Bush or below the former president.  This includes 34% who say he is on par with Bush and 29% who believe his handling is even worse.  One-third of independent voters rate Mr. Obama’s performance as better.

“Despite President Obama’s frequent attempts to plug the hole in his public opinion, Republicans and independent voters have not taken heed,” says Dr. Lee M. Miringoff, Director of The Marist College Institute for Public Opinion.

In fact, when it comes to Mr. Obama’s overall handling of this environmental crisis, a majority of voters — 53% — disapprove of his approach.  This includes 34% who strongly oppose it and 19% who just disapprove.  On the other hand, 46% think the president’s response is on the mark.  Included here are 33% who approve and 13% who strongly approve.  Just 1% are unsure.

Not surprisingly, Democrats and Republicans are on opposite sides of the spectrum here.  70% of Democrats agree with the way the president has managed the disaster while 70% of Republicans do not.  Again, independent voters are more in agreement with members of the GOP.  62% report they either strongly disapprove or disapprove of Mr. Obama’s response to the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.

Table: Comparison of Oil Spill to Hurricane Katrina
Table: Obama’s Handling of the Gulf Oil Spill

Most Disapprove of BP’s Handling of Oil Spill

President Obama isn’t the only one under fire.  British Petroleum (BP), whose rig exploded in late April, is also facing intense criticism.  83% of registered voters nationally either strongly disapprove or disapprove of how the oil company is handling the crisis in the Gulf of Mexico.  This includes 60% who are strongly against their methods and 23% who merely disapprove.  17%, though, strongly approve or approve of their procedures.  Included here are just 3% who strongly agree and 14% who like their approach.  When it comes to BP’s handling of the disaster, there is consensus among voters, regardless of party.

Table: BP’s Handling of Oil Spill

The Great Divide: Offshore Drilling Moratorium

A federal judge has overturned a moratorium placed on offshore drilling by the Obama Administration, but do voters want the moratorium in place?  They divide.  46% support a temporary ban while 45% do not.  9% are unsure.

Democrats and Republicans have opposing views.  57% of Democrats support a moratorium while the same proportion of Republicans — 57% — opposes it.  Nearly half of independent voters — 49% — are against the temporary ban.

Table: Moratorium on Offshore Drilling

Marist Poll Methodology

Related Stories:

6/30: Turning Tides … Half View Obama as Not Meeting Expectations

6/30: The U.S. Economy

6/30: Spill in the Gulf — On the Ground