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Poll: Response To Gulf Oil Spill Worse Than Katrina



Americans think that the federal government has responded insufficiently:
A month and a half after the spill began, 69 percent in a new ABC News/Washington Post poll rate the federal response negatively. That compares with a 62 negative rating for the response to Katrina two weeks after the August 2005 hurricane.
So, the Obama administration is worse than the Bush administration in reaction to disasters like these? Really?

Two thoughts...

1) Katrina was a natural disaster the likes of which the contiguous 48 states has never (or at least very rarely) seen. When a natural disaster happens, who else is going to help with rescue efforts, clean up and rebuilding? There is an expectation that governments at the local, state and federal levels will bear some/all of the responsibility in the aftermath.

2) The Deepwater Horizon explosion was a man-made disaster. An accident to be sure, but why should the government be responsible to clean-up the mess made by a private, and extremely wealthy, corporation? Granted, if the government is able to help in some way by protecting private citizens and wildlife that might be in danger, it should. But I think that the bulk of the responsibility, both financially as well as in deed, rests with the private corporation.

Doug breaks out some great analysis in reaction to this polling as well:
[W]e are now in the 50th day since the Deepwater Horizon exploded and the crisis began and there’s still no realistic end in sight to either the undersea oil gusher or the environmental impact from the oil that’s already made it to the surface. More importantly, the oil spill has been the story for each of those past fifty days. For as bad as Katrina was, its immediate impact occurred over a much shorter period of time and by the time Day 50 since landfall came in mid-October 2005, the story was largely out of public consciousness. The longer this story goes on without a resolution, the worse the public mood is going to get.

The length of the crisis plays into the other factor at play here, which is the simple fact that the public’s expectations of what the Federal Government can do in response to the oil spill seem to be far higher than what the government can actually accomplish. We live in a world where people expect immediate results, but we’re dealing with a crisis that is going to take time to clean up. As long as the public has an unrealistic idea of what the government can do, and how quickly it can do it, they’re going to rate the government’s response poorly.
Whether or not this is fair is up for debate, but in the end, the Obama administration will be judged by their response to this crisis.

And BP will rise again and continue to rip Americans off at the gas pump.

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Photo: President Obama delivers a statement on the oil-spill recovery efforts with state and federal officials May 28, 2010, in Grand Isle, La. Win McNamee/Getty Images