News / USA

BP, Obama Public Approval Ratings Fall as Gulf Oil Spill Worsens

BP television ad
BP television ad

Multimedia

BP stock continues to suffer, having plunged to a 13-year low, even as the company tries to rescue its damaged reputation amid the ongoing oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico with a $50 million public relations campaign.  But most crisis management experts are calling BP's new ad campaign shallow and premature, saying it lacks details about how the company plans to deal with the worst oil spill in U.S. history.  But it is not only BP's image that is suffering.  Even U.S. President Barack Obama is getting poor marks for his handling of the crisis.

"The Gulf spill is a tragedy that never should have happened," said a BP television ad.

In the battle to win hearts and minds, BP's newest ad, which features the company's chief executive officer, appears to be winning few converts.

"I'm Tony Hayward," said another ad. "BP has taken full responsibility for cleaning up the spill in the Gulf."

Despite an expensive, multimedia campaign, public relations experts say BP's image remains that of a big, faceless corporation that says it cares, even if few believe it.

"Right off the bat, they failed to manage the pictures," said Gene Grabowski.

Gene Grabowski is senior vice president at Levick Strategic Communications, a leading crisis management firm here in Washington.

"We didn't see faces of BP employees working on the ships to control the spill," he said. "We didn't see BP employees in the war room.  We didn't see the CEO, Tony Hayward, with his sleeves rolled up in the war room, walking his team through the process.  As a matter of fact, Tony Hayward didn't take his coat off until probably the sixth or seventh week into the crisis."

The commercials are the first of many BP ads expected to air in the coming weeks.  The oil giant has also purchased Internet search terms on Google and Yahoo to direct inquiries to its website.

President Obama has been critical of BP's public relations campaign.

"And what I don't want to hear is when they're spending that kind of money on their shareholders and spending that kind of money on TV advertising that they're nickel-and-diming fishermen or small businesses here in the Gulf [of Mexico] who are having a hard time," said President Obama.

National and regional public opinion surveys show that the president should be doing more to end the crisis.  According to a recent Quinnipiac University poll, 54 percent of people in Florida, for example, disapprove of how Mr. Obama is handling the disaster.

Although the president has visited the Gulf coast three times since the spill began, he is getting poor grades from people who spoke to VOA.

"He's been down there to my knowledge twice, but I don't think he's really done that much," said a woman.

Despite lobbying efforts by some organizations to boycott BP gasoline stations, consumers do not appear to be punishing BP.

Those we spoke with say price still determines where they buy their gas.

One woman said that boycotting BP would achieve nothing.

"Should we boycott BP and then expect them to pay for everything, "she asked.

But according to communications analyst Gene Grabowski, public opinion could change if the crisis worsens.

"I think BP has to find a path forward, show us what that path is, stop apologizing - stop blaming and start doing," he said.

Despite BP's efforts to contain the leak, experts say oil likely will spew into the Gulf of Mexico for at least two more months - until relief wells can be drilled.  Meanwhile, oil residue continues to spread along the U.S. coastline, threatening livelihoods and sensitive wildlife in the areas.  

You May Like

Photogallery South Africa Bans Travelers From Ebola-stricken Countries

South Africans returning from affected West African countries will be thoroughly screened, required to fill out medical questionnaire, health minister says More

Multimedia UN Launches ‘Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years’ in Iraq

Move aims to help thousands of Iraqi religious minorities who fled their homes as Kurdish, Iraqi government forces battle Sunni insurgents More

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

IT specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about disease More

This forum has been closed.
Comments
     
There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbasi
X
Scott Stearns
August 21, 2014 9:20 PM
The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.
Video

Video Ferguson Calls for Justice as Anger, Violence Grips Community

Violence, anger and frustration continue to grip the small St. Louis suburb of Ferguson, Missouri. Protests broke out after a white police officer fatally shot an unarmed black teenager on August 9. The case has sparked outrage around the nation and prompted the White House to send U.S. Attorney Eric Holder to the small community of just over 20,000 people. VOA’s Mary Alice Salinas has more from Ferguson.
Video

Video Beheading Of US Journalist Breeds Outrage

U.S. and British authorities have launched an investigation into an Islamic State video showing the beheading of kidnapped American journalist James Foley by a militant with a British accent. The extremist group, which posted the video on the Internet Tuesday, said the murder was revenge for U.S. airstrikes on militant positions in Iraq - and has threatened to execute another American journalist it is holding. Henry Ridgwell has more from London.
Video

Video Family Robots - The Next Big Thing?

Robots that can help us with daily chores like cooking and cleaning are a long way off, but automatons that serve as family companions may be much closer. Researchers in the United States, France, Japan and other countries are racing to build robots that can entertain and perform some simpler tasks for us. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video In Ukraine, Fear and Distrust Remain Where Fighting has Stopped

As the Ukrainian military reclaims control of eastern cities from pro-Russian separatists, residents are getting a chance to rebuild their lives. VOA's Gabe Joselow reports from the town of Kramatorsk in Donetsk province, where a sense of fear is still in the air, and distrust of the government in Kyiv still runs deep.
Video

Video Five Patients Given Experimental Ebola Drug Said to Be Improving

The World Health Organization has approved the use of experimental treatments for Ebola patients in West Africa. The Ebola outbreak there is unprecedented, the disease deadly. The number of people who have died from Ebola has surpassed 1,200. VOA's Carol Pearson reports on the ethical considerations of allowing experimental drugs to be used.
Video

Video China Targets Overseas Assets of Corrupt Officials

As China presses forward with its anti-graft effort, authorities are targeting corrupt officials who have sent family members and assets overseas. The efforts have stirred up a debate at home on exactly how many officials take that route and how likely it is they will be caught. Rebecca Valli has this report.
Video

Video Leading The Fight Against Islamic State, Kurds Question Iraqi Future

Western countries including the United States have begun arming the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in northern Iraq to aid their battle against extremist Sunni militants from the Islamic State. But there are concerns that a heavily-armed Kurdistan Regional Government, or KRG, might seek to declare independence and cause the break-up of the Iraqi state. As Henry Ridgwell reports from London, the KRG says it will only seek greater autonomy from Baghdad.
Video

Video In Rural Kenya, Pressure Builds Against Female Circumcision

In some Kenyan communities, female genital mutilation remains a rite of passage. But activists are pushing back, with education for girls and with threats of punishment those who perform the circumcision. Mohammed Yusuf looks at the practice in the rural eastern community of Tharaka-Nithi.

AppleAndroid