Readers Give Administration Failing Grade on Gulf Oil Spill

How have the administration and BP performed in handling the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico? What are the political implications for the November elections? Readers voiced their strong opinions on the topic in last week’s survey. Here are the results.

While the oil is still surging into the Gulf of Mexico killing wildlife, jobs, and destroying careers, the political implications will not be known for some time.

Last week, we asked readers: How would you grade the Obama administration’s response to the Gulf oil spill? Here are the results:

A: 6.2%

B: 10.8%

C. 10.1%

D. 17.5%

F. 55.4%

We also asked readers: How would you grade the performance of BP in handling the Gulf oil spill? Here is how readers answered this survey question:

A: 1%

B. 6.3%

C. 17%

D. 27.6%

F. 48.1%

And, with regard to the shorter-term political implications, we asked: Will the handling of the spreading oil in the Gulf of Mexico have an impact on the Congressional elections in November?

yes: 73%

no: 11.2%

undecided: 15.8%

Without a doubt, people have strong feelings on the issue as no one wants to see the damage that is occurring in the Gulf of Mexico. Here are a few of the hundreds of comments that readers submitted with regard to the administration’s performance.  As one can infer from the results of the poll, most of the comments were negative regarding the administration’s efforts.

  • Are you kidding me. This has been a joke. I am so sad to hear "we have been on top of this since day one". Who are they trying to kid? I am not stupid. BTW, I am from New Orleans.
  • As far as I can tell, all he’s done is give rhetorical speeches. No substance
  • It has been rhetoric, blaming, and putting obstacles into the way of getting anything constructive done.
  • Obama is going about the right. It takes time to gather all the necessary requirements/research/ machinery to battle the Gulf of Mexico oil spill the right way.
  • Not quick enough, no leadership shown from the top at first and now the leadership just misses the boat!
  • Should be more concerned with the problem rather then vacations, playing golf, or out selling health care or some other failed program.
  • Absolutely ridiculous that he waited almost 2 months (April 20 – June 16) before following up with the chairman of BP. He should be on the phone with him REGULARLY. "Been there since day 1" – repeat the lie enough times and many will believe it.
  • They are doing as much as can be done.
  • There is a vast amount of applicable experience in federal staff that is not being utilized or respected by the administration politicos who are using this disaster for their own grandstanding.
  • Obama, and those surrounding him, are grossly lacking in leadership skills. Obama’s number one concern is Obama.
  • I wouldn’t say perfect but I do believe in the President. I hope things are happening behind the scenes that we don’t see.
  • Everything should be done to get this cleaned up it is not a matter of pointing fingers this is all the worlds environment and it is being destroyed more and more daily.

BP obviously is at the center of the oil spill and readers had strong opinions on the performance of this company as well.

  • Since it is probably in their interest to clean up the gushing oil as soon as possible, BP is most likely doing all it can. Its public relations efforts have been ghastly and, of course, its disaster planning very poor.
  • No backup plan for this disaster ? How were they allowed to drill in the first place with no contingency plan.
  • The only reason I would say they handled it poorly is because BP declined help from engineers from the US with more experience in handling the situation.
  • BP should never have been left alone to deal with this. The government should have made sure they were not dilly-dallying around. No one knew it was this big, but this is like letting the fox guard the chicken coop. Give me a break. I am so angry I feel like I am sitting through Katrina again.
  • The BP oil company and it’s contractors, have been trying to spend the least amount of money and didn’t take the most effective measures at the onset, to prevent and fix this. Now it is going to cost them more.
  • They are totally over their collective heads on this one. Should never have cut corners as they did. The wildlife and people of the Gulf region will be paying for this for a long time and may never recover.
  • Let Saudi with their equipment take care of it, forget the politics of an American ship having to deal with it Save the poor animals and our environment!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  • BP management decisions created the spill even though numerous engineers made warnings concerning the drilling operation and BP was not prepared to deal with the aftermath of poor judgment.
  • Administration should have partnered with them rather than treating it totally as BP’s problem.
  • The oil is still leaking. FAIL.

With Congressional elections coming up in November, the oil spill is likely to still be in the news on a regular basis. Most readers think the Gulf oil spill will have an impact on the election. The most common reaction is that incumbents will suffer at the ballot box. Often, there is an expression of anger and frustration but no definitive prediction on how much of an impact the oil spill will actually have on voters in November.

Here is a sample of the comments explaining the rationale of those who sent in their written comments:

  • Those that took action and tried to do whatever they could will look much better than those that played the blame game.
  • Tired of political inept and/or lack of action. Mortgage/health care/ environment, all poor solutions.
  • I will be looking at those who genuinely are pushing to get this cleaned up. Not those who want to talk a line or feel it is to their benefit to steer clear of the issue.
  • People want to blame this disaster on someone, incumbents will get the blame even though they had nothing to do with the event.
  • I believe that this administration has greatly underestimated the depth of frustration and anger at the moral righteousness displayed – the only response seen is one of political expediency not proactive protection.
  • I hope there is a major shake-up. This is unacceptable.
  • Just one more reason to change the guard.
  • It could be bad news for the Democrats, along with the government bailouts and bad economy.
  • Everyone is acting like a jerk and making it political. This is a problem far beyond politics and needs credible, proactive leadership.
  • Actually, Congress couldn’t not have done anything unless they could have insisted that the White House take action, suspend the Jones Act and get the Corp of Engineers to get barriers up to protect the wetlands what could they have done, except parade before the media for "photo ops"?
  • The current administrations incompetence is becoming more obvious as each day goes by.
  • May not be big impact cause so many are already incensed over insane spending levels, obamacare, unconstitutional efforts, and governing against the will of the population.
  • fire everybody
  • We need to elect people who know what’s going on and how to handle issues without taxing and increasing the federal government.
  • Probably not. As shown time again, many people that vote are not, as a whole, informed on the issues and vote the ‘sound-byte’ of the moment!
  • Then handling of the oil spill should be viewed the same as the handling of Katrina.
  • People have short term memories, and since elections are this year for the House, I would say a lot of incumbents will be dangling close to the edge.

Our thanks to all of those who took the time to participate in this survey and a special thanks to the many readers who sent in their written opinion as well.