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

Will Cuba Follow the Southeast Asia Model?

Decision to restore ties between US and Cuba has some debating whether it will lead to an enhancement or regression of democracy on the Communist island nation More

Kenyan Designer Finds Her Niche in Fashion Industry

‘Made in China’ fabrics underlie her success More

Report: CIA, Israel's Mossad Killed Senior Hezbollah Commander

The Washington Post story says Imad Mughniyah was killed instantly by a bomb "triggered remotely" from Tel Aviv by Mossad agents 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.
Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Lateri
X
Deborah Block
January 31, 2015 12:12 AM
Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Jefferson's Library Continues to Impress, 200 Years Later

Two hundred years after the U.S. Congress purchased a huge collection of books belonging to former President Thomas Jefferson, it remains one of America’s greatest literal treasures and has become the centerpiece of Washington’s Library of Congress. VOA’s Deborah Block reports.
Video

Video Egypt's Suez Canal Dreams Tempered by Continued Unrest

Egypt plans to expand the Suez Canal, raising hopes that the end of its economic crisis may be in sight. But some analysts say they expect the project may cost too much and take too long to make life better for everyday Egyptians. VOA's Heather Murdock reports.
Video

Video Threat of Creeping Lava Has Hawaiians on Edge

Residents of the small town of Pahoa on the Big Island of Hawaii face an advancing threat from the Kilauea volcano. Local residents are keeping a watchful eye on creeping lava. Mike O’Sullivan reports.
Video

Video Pro-Kremlin Youth Group Creatively Promotes 'Patriotic' Propaganda

As Russia's President Vladimir Putin faces international pressure over Ukraine and a failing economy, unofficial domestic groups are rallying to his support. One such youth organization, CET, or Network, uses creative multimedia to appeal to Russia's urban youth with patriotic propaganda. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports.
Video

Video Filmmakers Produce Hand-Painted Documentary on Van Gogh

The troubled life of the famous 19th century Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh has been told through many books and films, but never in the way a group of filmmakers now intends to do. "Loving Vincent " will be the first ever feature-length film made of animated hand-painted images, done in the style of the late artist. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Issues or Ethnicity? Question Divides Nigeria

As Nigeria goes to the polls next month, many expect the two top presidential contenders to gain much of their support from constituencies organized along ethnic or religious lines. But are faith and regional blocs really what political power in Nigeria is about? Chris Stein reports.
Video

Video Rock-Consuming Organisms Alter Views of Life Processes

Scientists thought they knew much about how life works, until a discovery more than two decades ago challenged conventional beliefs. Scientists found that there are organisms that breathe rocks. And it is only recently that the scientific community is accepting that there are organisms that could get energy out of rocks. Correspondent Elizabeth Lee reports.
Video

Video Paris Attacks Highlight Global Weapons Black Market

As law enforcement officials piece together how the Paris and Belgian terror cells carried out their recent attacks, questions are being asked about how they obtained military grade assault weapons - which are illegal in the European Union. As VOA's Jeff Swicord reports, experts say there is a very active worldwide black market for these weapons, and criminals and terrorists are buying.
Video

Video Activists Accuse China of Targeting Religious Freedom

The U.S.-based Chinese religious rights group ChinaAid says 2014 was the worst year for religious freedom in China since the end of the Cultural Revolution. As Ye Fan reports, activists say Beijing has been tightening religious controls ever since Chinese leader Xi Jinping came to office. Hu Wei narrates.
Video

Video Theologians Cast Doubt on Morality of Drone Strikes

In 2006, stirred by photos of U.S. soldiers mistreating Iraqi prisoners, a group of American faith leaders and academics launched the National Religious Campaign Against Torture. It played an important role in getting Congress to investigate, and the president to ban, torture. VOA's Jerome Socolovsky reports.
Video

Video Former Sudan 'Lost Boy' Becomes Chess Master in NYC

In the mid-1980’s, thousands of Sudanese boys escaped the country's civil war by walking for weeks, then months and finally for more than a year, up to 1,500 kilometers across three countries. The so-called Lost Boys of the Sudan had little time for games. But one of them later mastered the game of chess, and now teaches it to children in the New York area. VOA’s Bernard Shusman in New York has his story.
Video

Video NASA Monitors Earth’s Vital Signs From Space

The U.S. space agency, NASA, is wrapping up its busiest 12-month period in more than a decade, with three missions launched in 2014 and two this month, one in early January and the fifth scheduled for January 29. As VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports, the instruments being lifted into orbit are focused on Earth’s vital life support systems and how they are responding to a warmer planet.

Circumventing Censorship

An Internet Primer for Healthy Web Habits

As surveillance and censoring technologies advance, so, too, do new tools for your computer or mobile device that help protect your privacy and break through Internet censorship.
More

All About America

AppleAndroid