Obama Receives 44% Approval on Oil Spill While BP Gets 16%

by Frank Newport

Obama's overall job approval rating, at 47% last week, is little changed

PRINCETON, NJ -- Americans give President Obama a 44% approval rating on his handling of the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, up slightly from 40% in early June. Meanwhile, 16% of Americans approve of BP's handling of the spill.

Approval of Obama's Handling of Oil Spill

Approval of BP's Handling of Oil Spill

These data are based on Gallup Daily tracking interviews conducted June 19-20. During the three-day period of June 18-20, President Obama's three-day job approval rating was 49%. Obama's approval on the oil spill trailed his overall approval rating by seven percentage points in polling conducted during the period of June 4-6, 40% to 47%, meaning approval on both measures has increased at least marginally over the past two weeks.

In the current poll, 40% of Americans disapprove of how both Obama and BP are handling the spill. The next-largest group of 32% approve of Obama's actions relating to the oil spill, but not BP's. Ten percent approve of both; 6% approve of BP but not Obama.

Approval of Obama's and BP's Handling of Oil Spill, Combined Responses

These views are highly partisan.

  • Sixty-one percent of Republicans and independents who lean Republican disapprove of both Obama's and BP's handling of the spill. The percentage of Republicans who approve of BP's actions and disapprove of Obama's is about the same as the percentage who approve of Obama but disapprove of BP.
  • The majority of Democrats and Democratic leaners (56%) approve of Obama's handling of the oil spill while disapproving of BP's, but a not insubstantial 24% disapprove of both.

Approval of Obama's and BP's Handling of Oil Spill, Combined Responses

No Sign That Obama's Overall Job Approval Rating Has Been Significantly Affected

The trend data show a four-point increase in approval of Obama's handling of the oil spill between Gallup's June 5-6 poll and the June 19-20 poll. These results suggest a possibly slight benefit to Obama from his recent visits to the Gulf region, culminating in his nationally televised address from the Oval Office last Tuesday.

There is less evidence that the oil spill has affected Obama's standing in the public's eye from a comparison of his weekly overall job approval average before the BP spill on April 20 with his average after the spill. Obama's ratings have been slightly lower in the last four weeks than they were in the four weeks prior to that, but his average in either time period is not much different from his 48% average in the four weeks immediately prior to the spill.

President Obama's Job Approval Rating, Weekly Averages, Late February-Mid-June 2010

Bottom Line

President Obama gets substantially higher approval ratings for handling the Gulf Coast oil spill than does BP, and Obama's approval ratings both on the spill and overall have edged up slightly over the last two weeks. However, weekly trends in Obama's overall job approval rating show no significant impact from the oil spill; his weekly average now is little different from what it was in the weeks prior to the spill.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews conducted as part of Gallup Daily tracking June 19-20, 2010, with a random sample of 1,046 adults, aged 18 and older, living in all 50 U.S. states and the District of Columbia, selected using random-digit-dial sampling.

For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

Interviews are conducted with respondents on landline telephones and cellular phones, with interviews conducted in Spanish for respondents who are primarily Spanish-speaking. Each daily sample includes a minimum quota of 150 cell phone respondents and 850 landline respondents, with additional minimum quotas among landline respondents for gender within region. Landline respondents are chosen at random within each household on the basis of which member had the most recent birthday.

Samples are weighted by gender, age, race, Hispanic ethnicity, education, region, adults in the household, cell phone-only status, cell phone-mostly status, and phone lines. Demographic weighting targets are based on the March 2009 Current Population Survey figures for the aged 18 and older non-institutionalized population living in U.S. telephone households. All reported margins of sampling error include the computed design effects for weighting and sample design.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

For more details on Gallup's polling methodology, visit http://www.gallup.com/.

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