More Americans have a downbeat assessment of the federal response to the Gulf of Mexico oil spill than to US relief efforts following Hurricane Katrina, a new poll found Monday.
A month and a half after the BP spill began, 69 percent of respondents to an ABC News/Washington Post poll gave a negative rating to the federal government response, compared to 62 percent who gave a negative rating to its handling of Katrina two weeks after the devastating August 2005 hurricane.
The poll also found that about three-fourths of Americans feel BP and its partners took “unnecessary risks” while drilling in the Gulf.
About 81 percent rated BP’s handling of the disaster negatively, and some 64 percent said the government should pursue criminal charges against BP and other companies involved in the spill.
Seventy-one percent of respondents who called the spill a major disaster also expressed support for filing criminal charges against BP and its partners.
The BP spill has poured oil into the Gulf from a well one mile (1,600 meters) beneath the ocean surface since the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig sank on April 22, two days after it was rocked by an explosion and fire.
The poll was conducted between June 3 and June 6, before BP’s announcement Sunday that a containment cap on the well was capturing a substantial portion of the gushing oil.
The random telephone survey of 1,004 adults has a 3.5-percent margin of error.