Poll: Most Say Months Before Oil Stops Spewing

This Wednesday evening, May 26, 2010 image made from video released by British Petroleum (BP PLC) shows equipment being used to try and plug a gushing oil well in the Gulf of Mexico. AP Photo

CBS
Americans are pessimistic that BP will be able to stop the oil leak in the Gulf of Mexico anytime soon, a new CBS News/New York Times poll finds, with fewer than one in five expecting BP to cap the well within a month.

Sixty-four percent say oil will be spewing into the Gulf for at least several more months, including 16 percent who expect the leak to continue for a year or longer. Another seven percent believe the well will never be capped.

President Obama said last week he expects BP to be capturing "up to 90 percent" of the leaking oil "in the coming weeks and days."

Americans living in the Gulf coast region are even more pessimistic than Americans overall, with 22 percent expecting the leak to continue for a year or more and 11 percent saying it will never be capped.

Most do expect the Gulf's economy and environment to recover, however.

Seventy-nine percent say the Gulf economy will eventually recover, including 72 percent of Gulf coast residents. Seventeen percent (including 22 percent in the region) say the Gulf economy may never recover.

Two in three Americans, meanwhile, expect the Gulf environment to recover, while 29 percent say it may never recover. Gulf coast residents are slightly more optimistic about environmental recovery than Americans overall.

The full CBS News/New York Times poll on the Gulf oil spill will be released at 6:30 p.m. Eastern.

Read the Poll (PDF)


This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,259 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone June 16-20, 2010. Phone numbers were dialed from random digit dial samples of both standard land-line and cell phones. The error due to sampling for results based on the entire sample could be plus or minus three percentage points. The error for subgroups is higher.

An oversample of residents in coastal counties of Alabama, Louisiana, and Mississippi was conducted for this poll, for a total of 318 interviews. The results were then weighted in proportion to the adult population. The margin of error for the sample of these Gulf Coast residents is six points. This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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