Image via Twilight Earth
It should come as no surprise that BP's public image is in the midst of a meltdown: Between the gaffe-a-day CEO Tony Hayward creating a heartless public face for the company, a near-complete lack of transparency on how much oil has really been gushing from the Gulf, and the fact that the disaster is still going on, it's no wonder that the vast majority of Americans view the company unfavorably. But a recent poll shows that the outrage goes further still: it reveals that two thirds of Americans think criminal charges should be brought against BP. Breakdown after the jump:
Interesting to note that a full 51% feel strongly that criminal charges should be brought against BP, indicating that there's real anger about the spill across the nation -- as there should be. Also reflecting this is the sheer number of Americans who believe that the spill constitutes a "major disaster":
These charts demonstrate that the severity of the spill is largely understood by Americans, which is good news for any legislative efforts that might seek to address the spill. Still baffling, of course, is the 1/5 of Americans that continue to think BP is a-Ok, but hey, you can't win them all.
But the most important takeaway from all this, to me, anyways, is that there's a distinct sense that a company's negligence should be taken to task -- after a decade or so of staunch anti-regulatory thinking, this spill, along with the financial crisis, have delivered a referendum on the idea that good faith alone will keep corporations in check. And it's at least encouraging that an environmental disaster is capable of moving the American people to such conclusions -- I certainly believe that BP should face criminal charges for the severe negligence that left 11 dead, thousands more jobless, and a valuable ecosystem soiled.
More on the BP Gulf Spill
Breaking Down the BP Gulf Spill Blame Game
BP Gulf Oil Spill Officially the Worst in US History