By Vicki Needham - 06/15/10 04:57 PM EDT
A majority of Americans want BP to pay for all costs associated with the Gulf of Mexico oil spill even if it drives the company out of business.
Of those surveyed, 59 percent said BP should pay for all financial losses related to the oil spill, including wages for workers affected, in a Gallup/USA Today poll released Tuesday.
Another 38 percent say they want BP to pay for as much as possible while remaining viable.
BP has spent $1.6 billion on the costs of containment, cleanup, relief well drilling and payment of claims to affected individuals and businesses along the Gulf Coast. So far, $62 million has been paid out to more than 26,000 claims, according to BP's accounting.
The oil giant is likely to lose control over the payment of those claims as federal officials seek an independent entity that can streamline and speed up the process.
Congressional Democrats and President Barack Obama are asking BP to set up a $20 billion escrow account to ensure all costs are covered.