Poll: Katrina Response Inadequate

Hurricane Katrina victims wait for transportation outside the Louisiana Superdome in New Orleans, Friday, Sept. 2, 2005. (AP Photo/The Baltimore Sun, Karl Merton Ferron) AP

Americans think the response to Hurricane Katrina was inadequate, and spread the blame around all levels of government. President George W. Bush finds disapproval on his handling of the matter, too -- and the public now shows diminished confidence in his abilities to handle a crisis or provide leadership, as well as in the government's ability to protect the country.

RATING THE RESPONSE

President George W. Bush's overall response to Katrina meets with disapproval today -- a dramatic change from the public's reaction just after the storm hit on August 29th. Last week, in the two days immediately after Katrina made landfall, a majority of Americans said they approved of Bush's response, although more than a third were not sure. Now, only 38 percent approve. A majority disapproves.

BUSH'S HANDLING OF RESPONSE TO KATRINA

Now
Approve
38%
Disapprove
58%
Don't know
4%

8/30-31
Approve
54%
Disapprove
12%
Don't know
34%

Last winter, eight in ten Americans approved of how Bush handled the tsunami disaster in Asia.

Bush is also seen as acting too slowly in responding to the disaster that followed Katrina.

BUSH'S RESPONSE TO KATRINA WAS…

Too quick
1%
Too slow
65%
About the right speed
32%

Large majorities think the federal government, FEMA, and Louisiana's state and local government all could have performed better in Katrina's wake.

WAS THE RESPONSE TO KATRINA ADEQUATE?

Federal government
Yes
20%
No
77%

FEMA
Yes
24%
No
70%

State and local government
Yes
24%
No
70%

In 1992, after Hurricane Andrew decimated parts of Florida, 41 percent of voters thought the federal government performed adequately there. 40 percent of Floridians that year said the same.

Americans see the response to Katrina as insufficient in part because it was slow: an overwhelming eight in ten say the federal government didn't act fast enough.

DID FEDERAL GOVERNMENT RESPOND AS FAST AS IT COULD?

Yes
16%
No
80%

Now, with evacuation efforts having been stepped up over Labor Day weekend, more Americans see things looking up. 60 percent of Americans say the federal government is doing all it can to help now.

ARE FEDERAL OFFICIALS DOING ALL THEY CAN NOW?

Yes
60%
No, could be doing more
36%

CONFIDENCE IN THE PRESIDENT AND THE GOVERNMENT

President Bush's image appears to have suffered in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. The public now has lower confidence in his response to crisis, and his leadership in general.

  • Joel Roberts

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