I spent two years as a journalist in south Louisiana and my wife is from Chauvin, which is way down da bayou (where her mom still lives along with other siblings, etc.). So I have some interest in the BP oil spill, as well as some knowledge about the geography and problems involved. There are no survey questions on knowledge about the massive oil spill, but what's emerging are questions that attempt to gauge people's opinions about how the mess is being handled and their thoughts about offshore drilling.
First, the political stuff. A CNN survey found 45 percent disapprove of the Obama administration's handling of the gushing oil, 35 percent approve, and 20 percent are unsure. Correct answer here? The administration is doing a pretty good job, considering they didn't make the mess. But let's not allow facts to get in the way of opinion. Oddly, 70 percent disapprove of BP. Makes a little more sense in my mind, given what we know about failures before the accident by those in charge of the offshore rig.
Approval of offshore drilling, as you'd expect, dropped considerably after the spill. Before, some 62 percent thought such drilling was a good idea. That's down to 45 percent today. Let gasoline get to $4 a gallon and these numbers will change. Also, if BP's plan today to plug the well works, this will fade from memory. Unfortunately, oil will ruin the precious wetlands and marsh grasses, ruining fishing and shrimping and likely leaving the coastal area even more open to a hurricane.
A summary of the various questions can be found here.