Americans are more likely than not to say that workplace safety regulations should be more strict in the wake of a fertilizer plant that exploded in Texas last week, according to a new HuffPost/YouGov poll. But respondents also said that enforcement of existing regulations would do more to prevent another similar incident.
According to the new survey, 44 percent of Americans say that current workplace safety regulations are not strict enough, compared to 26 percent who said that they are about right and 7 percent who said they are too strict.
But asked which they thought would do more to prevent another accident like the one in Texas, 52 percent of respondents said that better enforcement of existing regulations would be the most effective, while 18 percent said stricter safety regulations would be more effective.
West Fertilizer Co. had not had a full safety inspection since 1985, according to HuffPost's Chris Kirkham and Ben Hallman.
Democrats in the new survey were the most likely to say that current regulations are not strict enough, with 63 percent saying so compared to a combined 15 percent saying regulations were about right or too strict. Forty-two percent of Republicans said regulations were about right, while 29 percent said they were not strict enough and 11 percent said they were too strict. Among independents, 37 percent said regulations were not strict enough, 26 percent said they were about right, and 8 percent said too strict.
Respondents were more likely to say that the plant explosion was an unusual accident (43 percent) than a sign of a bigger problem (34 percent), but a majority also said that it was at least somewhat likely that a similar explosion could happen. Thirty-one percent said that a similar accident happening again in the United States was very likely, 38 percent said it was somewhat likely, 18 percent said it was not too likely, and 2 percent said it was not at all likely.
The vast majority of Americans have heard something about the fertilizer plant explosion, but not all have paid close attention. Forty-four percent of respondents said they had heard a lot about the fertilizer plant explosion and 47 percent said they had heard a little, while 10 percent said they had heard nothing at all.
The poll was conducted April 23-24 among 1,000 adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.