Americas

Public Skeptical New Orleans Will Recover

Criticism, but little outrage, for Bush's and federal agencies' response to hurricane

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A new CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey finds the public skeptical that New Orleans will ever completely recover from Hurricane Katrina, but also supportive of making the effort to rebuild the city. Even those who predict full recovery expect the process to take many years.

The poll also finds the public largely divided in its evaluation of the response by President George W. Bush and the federal government, though more people are critical than supportive of their efforts. The public is also highly critical of gas companies for the rise in prices, saying the industry is taking advantage of the situation to charge unfair prices.

The poll, conducted Sept. 5-6, finds almost all Americans, 93%, agreeing that Hurricane Katrina is the worst natural disaster in their lifetimes.

Thinking about natural disasters such as hurricanes, floods, earthquakes, or fires, do you consider Hurricane Katrina to be the worst natural disaster in the U.S. in your lifetime, or not?

Yes, is

No, is not

No opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

93%

7

*

* Less than 0.5%

A majority, 56%, is even skeptical that New Orleans will ever completely recover from the hurricane. Among those who think recovery is possible, they predict on average that it will take more than nine years, with a majority saying a minimum of six years.

Do you think the city of New Orleans will ever completely recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, or not?

Yes, will
completely recover

No,
will not

No
opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

42%

56

2

Just your best guess, how many years will it take for New Orleans to completely recover? [OPEN-ENDED]

BASED ON 268 ADULTS WHO SAY THE CITY OF NEW ORLEANS WILL COMPLETELY RECOVER FROM THE EFFECTS OF HURRICANE KATRINA


2 years
or less


3-5
years


6-10
years


11-20 years

More than
20 years


No opinion



Mean



Median

%

%

%

%

%

%

2005 Sep 5-6

10

33

41

8

5

3

9.3 years

7 years

Still, a substantial majority, 63%, believes that New Orleans should be rebuilt as a major city.

Do you think New Orleans should -- or should not -- be rebuilt as a major city?

Yes, should

No, should not

No opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

63%

34

3

No Apparent Outrage With Government's Response to Hurricane

Despite widespread criticism of the response by Bush and, separately, the federal government, to the problems caused by the hurricane, the public seems on balance only mildly critical. Forty-two percent say Bush did a "bad" (18%) or "terrible" (24%) job, but 35% rate his response as either "great" (10%) or "good" (25%).

Do you think -- [RANDOM ORDER] -- has/have done a -- great, good, neither good nor bad, bad, or terrible job -- in responding to the hurricane and subsequent flooding?

Great

Good

Neither
good
nor
bad

Bad

Ter-
rible

No
opinion

%

%

%

%

%

%

George W. Bush

10

25

21

18

24

2

Federal government agencies responsible for handling emergencies

8

27

20

20

22

3

State and local officials in Louisiana

7

30

23

20

15

5

Federal agencies received a similar rating, with 42% of Americans giving a low rating and 35% a high one. The public was about evenly divided on state and local officials in Louisiana -- 37% giving a high rating and 35% a low one.

The ratings for Bush are highly related to party affiliation.

  • By a margin of 69% to 10%, Republicans give Bush a positive rather than negative rating for his response.
  • Democrats give almost a mirror opposite -- 66% negative to 10% positive.
  • Independents side with the Democrats, giving a more modest margin -- 47% negative to 29% positive.

When asked to identify who was most responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane, 38% of Americans said no one was really to blame, while 13% cited Bush, 18% the federal agencies, and 25% state and local officials.

Who do you think is MOST responsible for the problems in New Orleans after the hurricane -- [ROTATED: George W. Bush, federal agencies, (or) state and local officials], or is no one really to blame?

George W.
Bush

Federal
agencies

State/
local
officials

No one
to blame

No
opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

13%

18

25

38

6

Few Americans feel that any top official in the agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be dismissed from office -- just 29% say someone should be fired, while 63% disagree.

Do you think that any of the top officials in the federal agencies responsible for handling emergencies should be fired, or don't you think so?

Yes, should
be fired

No, don't
think so

No
opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

29%

63

8

Police are trying to get the remaining residents in New Orleans to evacuate, because of health and safety problems. Americans agree with this effort by better than a 2-to-1 margin, 66% to 30%.

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: all residents of New Orleans should evacuate the city (or) the residents of New Orleans who are still in the city should be allowed to stay]?

All residents
should evacuate
city

Residents still in
the city should
be allowed
to stay

No
opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

66%

30

4

The public tends to be upbeat about the efforts being made to deal with the disaster. Sixty-two percent feel the progress being made in the region is satisfactory, while 35% say it is not.

Based on what you have seen or read in the past day or two, do you think the progress made in dealing with the situation is satisfactory, or not?

Yes, is

No, is not

No opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

62%

35

3

As for the effect of the hurricane on gas prices, Americans express a cynical view -- by 79% to 18%, they believe that gas companies are taking advantage of the situation to charge unfair prices.

Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: the gas companies are charging a fair price given the conditions caused by the hurricane, (or) the gas companies are taking advantage of the situation and charging unfair prices]?

Charging fair
price given
conditions

Taking
advantage,
charging
unfair prices

No
opinion

2005 Sep 5-6

18%

79

3

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 609 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Sept. 5-6, 2005. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

For results based on the sample of 268 adults who say the city of New Orleans will completely recover from the effects of Hurricane Katrina, the maximum margin of sampling error is ±6 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/18412/Public-Skeptical-New-Orleans-Will-Recover.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030