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Poll: 70% Say BP Handling Oil Spill Badly

CBS News Poll analysis by the CBS News Polling Unit: Sarah Dutton, Jennifer De Pinto, Fred Backus and Anthony Salvanto.

As oil continues gushing into the Gulf of Mexico, Americans polled by CBS News have expressed frustration with both the global oil giant operating the deep sea well and President Obama for their handling of the environmental disaster.

Special Section: Disaster in the Gulf

Only 18 percent of those polled said they approved of how British Petroleum PLC, which was leasing the Deepsea Horizon Rig when it erupted in a ball of flames and sank, was acting in response. An overwhelming majority -- 70 percent -- said they disapproved.

President Obama fared slightly better, with 45 percent saying they disapproved of his handling of the crisis. That still represents an overall negative rating, however, as only 35 percent said they approved of his words and deeds since the disaster struck.

One in five of those questioned about the government and BP's handling of the oil spill said they had no opinion.

In a CBS News poll conducted earlier this month, 46 percent of Americans said they supported increasing offshore drilling for oil, marking a drop since 2008. That support has changed little in recent weeks: 45 percent said they were in favor of more offshore drilling in the new poll, while 46 percent said the associated costs and risks are too great.

There is a significant political divide over this question, with most Republicans saying they favor further drilling, while most Democrats and independents did not.

Read the Complete Poll

This poll was conducted among a random sample of 1,054 adults nationwide, interviewed by telephone May 20-24, 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.

This poll release conforms to the Standards of Disclosure of the National Council on Public Polls.

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