Gallup: Waning Interest in Disaster Relief and Oil Spill

Latest news that BP has finally managed to cap the well that has spilled millions of gallons of oil into the Gulf of Mexico comes as the latest Gallup poll says the spill is fading as an issue for the American public, as reported by the Washington Post’s The Fix blog.

Just 7 percent of respondents in the July Gallup poll mentioned “natural disaster response/relief† as the most important problem facing the country, a significant drop from 18 percent in June (in May just 1 percent said natural disaster relief was the top problem).

Frank Newport, editor-in-chief of the Gallup Poll observes:

Americans’ reduced likelihood to see the spill as the top problem could reflect the reality that the spill is no longer “new† news or perhaps that Americans are becoming more confident that the spill will be fixed.†

  The Fix blog puts its money on the former, observing that “the wall-to-wall coverage of the spill (as symbolized by the ever-present “spill cam†) has effectively dulled the public’s outrage about the spill.†

It’s an interesting point. Is our attention span in the wake of the worst environmental disaster in U.S. history this short?

As tweeted by I.I.I., a post on social media blog Mashable recently noted that interest in the oil spill was on the decline, at least according to its review of Internet search and discussion topics.

Yet while discussion of the oil spill on Twitter, Google, blogs and YouTube overall has dropped off, Mashable did find that local residents are still searching for information about the disaster.

Not surprisingly, Louisiana residents are still searching for “oil spill† on Google, as are the residents of many other Gulf Coast areas. New Orleans-area Google users are by far the largest geographical group still looking for information.

We’d hazard a guess that a major hurricane in the Gulf of Mexico could reawaken interest in the oil spill.

For insurers’ part, I.I.I. has a number of resources available on the Gulf oil spill. Check out our presentation on the Deepwater Horizon event and primer on offshore energy facilities and insurance considerations.

One thought on “Gallup: Waning Interest in Disaster Relief and Oil Spill”

  1. It’s a shame that the public interest is starting to wane on this issue. I really feel for the people affected. I just recently saw a documentary on the Exxon-Valdez spill about how a whole town has been wiped out by the accident, and how decades later people are still trying to put their lives together.

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