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Bloomberg Poll: Americans in 73% Majority Oppose Ban on

July 15, 2010

  Bloomberg Poll: Americans in 73% Majority Oppose Ban on Deepwater Oil
  Drilling after Oil Spill

           Eight in Ten Americans Say BP Should Pay for All Damages

Public Objections to a Drilling Ban are Strong Regardless of Political Leaning

Business Wire

NEW YORK -- July 15, 2010

Most Americans oppose President Barack Obama’s ban on deepwater oil drilling
in response to BP Plc’s Gulf of Mexico spill, even as they hold the company
primarily responsible for the incident.

Almost three-fourths, or 73 percent, say a ban is unnecessary, calling the
worst oil spill in U.S. history a “freak accident,” according to a Bloomberg
National Poll. Barely more than a third (37%) say they support drilling less
than they did a few months ago. The BP rig sank in April. The administration
issued a new moratorium this week after a court rejected one imposed in May.

Eight in 10 (79%) of those questioned in the July 9-12 poll say London-based
BP should pay for all damage caused by the spill. Sixty percent say BP, not
the federal government, should reimburse wages lost by oil workers laid off
because of the moratorium, with 56 percent saying even the possibility of
bankruptcy shouldn’t allow the company to escape paying.

Asked who was most to blame for the spill, 44 percent say BP, and 19 percent
say lax federal regulations and oversight. One in five say (22%) no one is to

“The fact so many people say it was a freak accident is especially telling,”
said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., a Des Moines, Iowa-based
company that conducted the telephone survey. “People say BP must pay, but
there’s no sense of impending doom at the hands of the entire industry.”

The length of the spill, now in its 84th day, may explain why there’s not a
broader sense of outrage, she said.

“Perhaps because it’s gone on so long there’s a sense that it is what it is,”
Selzer said. “BP is accountable for what they are accountable for, but any
sense of vindication you might look to find is absent.”

The story is on at:

‘Economic Catastrophe’

While public objections to a drilling ban echo the views of Republican leaders
such as Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, the sentiment is strong regardless of
political leaning: 85 percent of Republicans, 73 percent of independents and
65 percent of Democrats oppose a ban, according to the poll.

Making BP pay for the economic damages from the spill even at the risk of
bankruptcy is backed by 61 percent of respondents who said they are Democrats,
and 54 percent of both Republicans and independents.

‘Accidents Happen’

Eight in 10 (79%) of those questioned say BP shouldn’t be assessed penalties
beyond payment for damages, such as being banned from future drilling in the
U.S. The House Natural Resources Committee yesterday approved an amendment
that would bar the company from new offshore leases in the U.S.

While 73 percent of Democrats say BP should pay for the wages of rig workers
laid off because of the drilling moratorium, Republicans are evenly split,
with 42 percent saying BP should pay and the same number saying the government

BP has allocated $100 million to pay for the missed wages of workers idled by
the drilling ban. That money is separate from a $20 billion fund BP has
created to cover economic damages caused by the spill.

Methodology: The Bloomberg National Poll is based on interviews with 1,004
U.S. adults ages 18 or older. Percentages based on the full sample may have a
maximum margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.


Bloomberg News
Kristin Swenson, +1-212-617-4264
Ty Trippet, +1-212-617-2443