Despite the devastation BP has caused, about a third of conservatives view the oil giant favorably.

As oil from BP’s Deepwater Horizon well makes its way deep into the marshes of the Gulf Coast, and the wildlife toll mounts, the company announced today that cleanup costs have already reached $1.25 billion and are growing quickly. Given this devastation, it’s not surprising that a vast majority of Americans “” 72 percent “” now have a negative view of the company, a new Rasmussen poll found. However, 22 percent still have a somewhat or very favorable view of the foreign oil giant.

EnviroKnow examined the crosstabs from the poll and found that this group of BP supporters is made up disproportionately of conservatives.  Guest blogger William Tomasko has the story in this TP repost.

On BP favorability, a few key statistics stick out:

* Conservatives are four times more likely to view BP favorably as Liberals are
* Republicans are more than twice as likely to view BP favorably as Democrats are
* Whites are nearly twice as likely to view BP favorably as Blacks are


Given conservatives’ almost religious devotion to offshore drilling, perhaps this is not surprising. While a majority of Americans now believe increased offshore drilling is “too risky,” several Republican leaders have called for an immediate expansion of drilling, even before the investigation of the Deepwater Horizon disaster is complete. Meanwhile, evidence mounts that BP flouted safety regulations before the disaster, and there are legitimate questions about the sincerity of BP’s pledge to pay for all damages from the spill. A recent Washington Post-ABC News poll, 64 percent of Americans would support a federal decision to pursue criminal charges against the company.

William Tomasko

17 Responses to Despite the devastation BP has caused, about a third of conservatives view the oil giant favorably.

  1. Lou Grinzo says:

    I’m absolutely stunned.

    I would have guessed that the number (conservatives/Republicans supporting BP) was over 50%.

    And no, I’m not kidding.

  2. Rick Covert says:

    And you might add, they are more terrified of a cap and trade mechanism, which they label, “cap and tax” then the actual gulf environmental disaster which still continues to develop. Seems like in order to oppose something just label it, in near jerk reaction, a “tax”. With that in mind let’s just call what the devestation has been caused in the gulf by BP, through it’s hubristic “Devil may care” attitude, a tax on the citizens of the gulf states, those who would otherwise travel there for vacation and those who like seafood, a tax. There settled.

  3. darth says:

    A bit off topic but:

    So BP claims that the ‘processing ship’ can only handle 15,000 barrels per day so they can’t close the vents. I say BS. Why can’t they rent a supertanker which holds about 2M barrels and just pump all the flow into it and process it later? At 15,000 barrels per day, it would take over 100 days to fill one up, that would be enough time to complete the relief well.

    Say they close the vents and the flow is 30,000 bpd, you still have 50 days of capacity with only 1 tanker. There is no ‘processing limit’ – just dump it into the tank – process it later. Use multiple ships if you have to. Obama needs to stop talking about whose ass to kick and start kicking. The feds should step in and force this to happen, it is ridiculous now.

  4. homunq says:

    Darth is right. Of course, renting a supertanker costs (according to my brief research and calculations) half a million dollars a day. That might explain BP’s reluctance to do so, but it’s chicken feed compared to the daily damage being caused, so yeah, Obama, kick some ass.

  5. robhon says:

    I would take note that this data is coming from Rasmussen. Their polls have a decidedly right lean because of how they apply a “likely voter” model to their data. Good reading on this topic can be had at

  6. FishEagle says:

    I’m dumbfounded by the way Americans choose sides on every day issues according to their political ideologies. You get told what you can believe, or support, in terms of:

    global climate change,
    freedom of religion,

    And that does not just apply to the right. For heaven’s sake! When are people going to start thinking about things?? Stop politicizing environmental issues. It’s posts like these, amongst thousands of them, that create the problem.

    Here is a side to the story that also needs to be investigated:

  7. Windsong says:

    As awful and dispicable as the story of the BP oil spill is, it’s nothing compared to what they did to other countries. I just finished reading the book, “Crude (World?)” (Forgot the last word). Anyhow, it tells what’s happened all over the world as BP, Texaco, and other oil companies came to extract oil from naiive communities who thought the oil countries would act responsibly. Boy, were they fooled! It makes you sick and angry as __ to hear all the stuff they did (to the people, the environment, and the species that died off as a result of their greedy plunder)!

  8. Dan B says:


    You’re a fish out of water here. The “easy” alternatives listed in the article have huge challenges. Even if the political bias weren’t so apparent it defies the imagination that oil shale, ANWR, and tar sands could be considered “easy”.

    Then there are the economic consequences of sticking to increasingly expensive fossil fuel source. Their continued use depend upon billions of dollars of direct and indirect government subsidies – TAXES.

  9. Chris Winter says:

    Homunq wrote: “Darth is right. Of course, renting a supertanker costs (according to my brief research and calculations) half a million dollars a day. That might explain BP’s reluctance to do so, but it’s chicken feed compared to the daily damage being caused, so yeah, Obama, kick some ass.”

    So let’s say BP would have needed to rent two supertankers for 90 days, starting in mid-May. That’s $90m million, plus whatever for deep-water operations and cleanup of the first 35 days of oil. Make it $500 million total. That’s probably excessive. But as of now they’ve spent, what, $1.25 billion?

  10. Chris Winter says:

    FishEagle wrote: “When are people going to start thinking about things?? Stop politicizing environmental issues. It’s posts like these, amongst thousands of them, that create the problem.”

    I took a look at the American Thinker post and comments. It looks to me like that writer has an agenda, and I doubt it includes the promotion of quality thinking.

  11. Joanaroo says:

    If the conservatives want to jump in bed with the oil companies, then let them join their God, Tony Hayward and go pick up tar balls-they’re just like toothpaste, according to Barnacle Barbour of Mississippi. They can go clean up the oil-soaked Louisiana marshes-the ones Tony says are minimally affected, and then enjoy a nice meal of blackened seafood cooked in oil. You have to politicize environmental disasters-otherwise how do you finally get a camera showing the spill and get some money out of BP? They sure as hell weren’t going to become transparent-as little as they are-without a political fight!

  12. FishEagle says:

    @ Dan B. I certainly am a fish out of water here. That’s the point. I am what most Americans would call conservative, although I work in an environmental field (South Africa). Why would you want to alienate someone that is passionate about their work because of their political ideology? I have a completely open mind with regards to ‘easy’ alternatives or alternative energy sources.

    In politics one has to pick sides. You can’t choose to side with ideas as they are constantly changing, growing, updated and so forth. Can you make the distinction between politics and science, without compromising political loyalties? In this case, as the experts, it should be a walk in the park. Yet I don’t see that happening.

    @ Chris Winter. Did you notice that the author was an attorney? You can’t hold him accountable to a scientific standard. I’d rather read such discussions written by scientists but invariably, it is only political sites that allow for critical thinking. Scientists are precluding the every day guy in the street from participating in environmental issues because they don’t have the management skills to communicate their ideas. It seems as if scientists have attempted to beef up their management skills but failed, and it came at the expense of well defined scientific and political targets.

  13. Leland Palmer says:

    It’s what Rush Limbaugh and other paid propagandists are telling them to think, I guess.

    This appears to be an example of the thought processed of authoritarian followers.

    Bob Altemeyer is a Canadian psychologist who has studied authoritarian followers for decades, and who has written the free online book The Authoritarians. Also based on his work is John Dean’s book Conservatives Without Conscience.

    …Yet John Dean was reading everything I had written and
    pummeling me with insightful questions for months on end. I had died and gone to heaven. And since John=s best-selling book, Conservatives Without Conscience had used my research to help explain how America was going to the devil, he thought I should write an easy-read, non-technical account of what I have found before I do die, and go to heaven or the devil. It will begin appearing on a screen near you soon.

    What is Authoritarianism?

    Authoritarianism is something authoritarian followers and authoritarian leaders cook up between themselves. It happens when the followers submit too much to the leaders, trust them too much, and give them too much leeway to do whatever they want–which often is something undemocratic, tyrannical and brutal. In my day, authoritarian fascist and authoritarian communist dictatorships posed the biggest threats to democracies, and eventually lost to them in wars both hot and cold. But authoritarianism itself has not disappeared, and I’m going to present the case in this book that the greatest threat to American democracy today arises from a militant authoritarianism that has become a cancer upon the nation.

    We know an awful lot about authoritarian followers. In one way or
    another, hundreds of social scientists have studied them since World War II. We have a pretty good idea of who they are, where they come from, and what makes them tick. By comparison, we know little about authoritarian leaders because we only recently started studying them. That may seem strange, but how hard is it to figure out why someone would like to have massive amounts of power? The psychological mystery has always been, why would someone prefer a dictatorship to freedom? So social scientists have focused on the followers, who are seen as the main, underlying problem.

    I think myself that we are evolved to give up our minds to strong authoritarian leaders, and forgive them practically anything in return for the benefits of joining the group. Some of these benefits include praise for being “special”, a sense of superiority or security, and protection from discomfort brought about by our modern pace of social and technological change.

    I think that members of our political and financial elites were well aware of this authoritarian psychological research into WWII era authoritarian regimes, and deliberately created a subclass of authoritarian followers to advocate the desires of our financial elites, using paid propagandists such as Rush Limbaugh and Bill O’Reilly. This has created a whole generation of authoritarian Americans, which infect our diseased society like a thought virus, and prevent political action which does not favor the rich.

    By the way – these people VOTE.

  14. FishEagle says:

    @ Leland Palmer, I would include Obama as one of your authoritarian Americans. Your philosophy slices both ways.

  15. Leland Palmer says:

    Hi FishEagle-

    Obama is a cipher to me, I have to admit. In energy policy, he is making steady progress in an area that requires radical change. Still, he deserves a lot of credit for making progress. Energy Secretary Chu was a real find for Obama, IMO, and is making tremendous incremental progress -again in an area that requires radical change.

    Obama’s foreign policy is a big disappointment to me, though. He does not appear, at least so far, to be aggressively invading countries, as Bush and Cheney did, though.

    All leaders are authoritarian to some extent, and we seem to be evolved as a species to follow leaders. But many of the worst excesses of the Bush Administation seem to be missing in the Obama Administation.

    Obama really does seem to want to revive democracy in the U.S., when we were trending to fascism under Bush, IMO. Certainly the sort of fascist intimidation that the Bush/Cheney gang were famous for seems to be absent in the Obama Administration.

    So on an authoritarian scale of one to ten, I give him a score of maybe three. Bush was a solid seven, I think, if Hitler or Stalin were tens, IMO.

  16. FishEagle says:

    To add on to my last comment, I have to agree with you that radical change is required in our approach to environmental issues.