Poll: Gulf Rebuilding Falls Short

generic hurricane katrina poll CBS/AP

As the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Katrina approaches, a majority of Americans say the government is still not doing all it could — or should — to help the storm's victims, a new CBS News poll found.

Comparing today's assessments with those immediately after the hurricane, Americans' assessments of the government response have grown even harsher: They still overwhelmingly call the federal and the state and local governments' actions inadequate.

Many remain displeased with how rebuilding efforts are going and are skeptical that New Orleans will return to normal any time soon.

The poll found that almost half of Americans are still dissatisfied or even angry with the way rebuilding efforts are going on the Gulf Coast. That displeasure has subsided only a bit from last winter, when six in 10 felt negatively.

HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT GULF REBUILDING EFFORTS?

Pleased
6%

Satisfied
32%

Dissatisfied
39%

Angry
11%

Tens of thousands of homes were destroyed by the storm, and only a fraction have been rebuilt. Federal Emergency Management Agency Director David Paulison said this week that a lack of housing remains the Gulf Coast's top challenge a year after Katrina.

FEMA has distributed roughly $6 billion to house people displaced by Katrina, and a vast majority of Americans think that the government ought to continue to pay for housing.

SHOULD THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT CONTINUE TO PROVIDE HOUSING FOR VICTIMS?

Yes
63%

No
29%

But, the CBS News poll found that only one in three Americans think FEMA is currently doing all it can to help the people affected by Katrina. The criticism in not only directed at the federal level. State and local governments score even lower.

IS FEMA DOING ALL IT CAN NOW TO HELP KATRINA VICTIMS?

All that can be expected
32%

Could be doing more
59%

ARE THE STATE AND LOCAL GOVERNMENTS DOING ALL IT CAN NOW TO HELP KATRINA VICTIMS?

All that can be expected
30%

Could be doing more
55%

President George W. Bush's approval ratings in relation to Hurricane Katrina have improved slightly. Most still disapprove of his response to the needs of those affected by the disaster, but evaluations are up from last winter.

DO YOU APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF PRESIDENT BUSH'S RESPONSE TO THE NEEDS OF KATRINA VICTIMS?

Approve
41%

Could be doing more
51%

In February, 32% of Americans approved of how Mr. Bush was addressing the victims' needs. Just after the disaster, assessments were similar to today's, with 44% approving.

Most Americans believe that the recovery from Hurricane Katrina is far from over.

HOW MUCH PROGRESS HAS BEEN MADE IN REBUILDING THE GULF COAST?

A lot
7%

Some
38%

Not much/none
25%

Don't know
29%

While seven in 10 think most of New Orleans will eventually be rebuilt, most Americans — 64% — think rebuilding it will take longer than two years. Another 25% say most of New Orleans will probably never be rebuilt.

WILL MOST OF NEW ORLEANS BE REBUILT?

Yes, within a year or two
8%

Yes, but it will take longer
64%

No, it never will be
25%

Most of the public — 67% — is paying attention to the rebuilding of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

Those paying "a lot" of attention to the rebuilding of the region are more likely than those paying less attention to say little or no progress has been made.

Most Americans continue to say New Orleans is not ready to be a tourism and convention destination again — 71% say it is not ready yet, while 17% say the city is ready.

  • James Klatell

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