Tony Hayward, CEO of BP, appeared before a House committee last week and mostly refused to answer questions. He did, however, receive an apology from conservative representative Joe Barton of Texas, who characterized the new $20 billion compensation fund for those hurt by the oil spill as “a shakedown” of BP and “a tragedy.”
But that’s not the way the public feels about this new fund. They approve of it by an overwhelming 82-18 margin in a new CNN poll.
Nor does the public seem very conflicted about how compensation funds and cleanup efforts may interfere with BP’s profitability—a concern that has been raised by many conservatives. In the same poll, 92 percent think BP’s top priority should be cleaning up the oil spill and paying for the damage it has caused rather than protecting the interests of its investors and employees by continuing to make profits.
Those are some pretty clear sentiments. Time for BP to pay up, clean up, and quit complaining.
Ruy Teixeira is a Senior Fellow at the Center for American Progress. To learn more about his public opinion analysis go to the Media and Progressive Values page and the Progressive Studies program page of our website.