A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows disapproval of President Obama’s handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico edging higher nationally, and in the most affected counties on the Gulf Coast, disapproval outpaces approval by nearly 3 to 1.
Overall, 53 percent of Americans disapprove of Obama’s handling of the spill, up four points from an early June poll. “Strong” disapproval of his job has climbed seven points to 40 percent, with the sharpest increase coming among Republicans.
In the Alabama, Florida, Louisiana and Mississippi counties where oil has already begun washing ashore, 73 percent disapprove of the job the president is doing managing the spill (59 percent strongly), while 24 percent approve. The area is a deeply Republican enclave. With the exception of Orleans Parish in Louisiana, Obama did not top 45 percent of the 2008 presidential vote in any of the affected counties. Republican nominee Sen. John S. McCain carried the area overall by a 61 to 38 percent margin.
Still, even Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents in the affected area express doubts about the president’s performance on the issue (50 percent disapprove, 43 percent approve).
But Obama is not the only target of Gulf Coast residents’ ire. More than seven in 10 in the affected counties give the federal government negative ratings on its handling of the spill, and over eight in 10 give BP low marks. Disapproval for both the federal government and BP are at about the same levels nationally.
The federal government’s ban on offshore drilling draws particular disdain from Gulf residents, with six in 10 opposed to the six-month moratorium on deepwater drilling, including more than seven in 10 in the Louisiana parishes nearest the spill. Nationwide, there is broader support for the suspension, with six in 10 in favor of it.
Whenever the ban is lifted, half of those in Gulf Coast counties say drilling ought to continue at the level it was before the ban, 23 percent say it should be increased and 22 percent would prefer it be decreased or stopped altogether.