Ethnic Media Poll Finds Great Majority of Haitian-American Personally Know Fatal Quake Victims

By: E&P Staff

An astonishing 60% of Haitian American lost family or close friends in the Jan. 12 earthquake, according to a poll released Thursday by New American Media (NAM), the San Francisco-based organization of ethnic newspapers and news organizations.

The poll found that Haitian Americans overwhelmingly approve of the job the United States and United Nations are doing in rescue and recovery on the devastated island — but many believe corrupt Haitian government officials will steal “most” international aid.

When it comes to following events unfold on the island, Haitiani Americans rely on English-language television. Not surprisingly 90% of the 400 Haitian Americans surveyed said they are following the story “closely.” Fully 87% of respondents said the coverage by CNN, Fox News, ABC, CBS and NBC is fair and comprehensive. Less than one-tenth said the coverage was “unbalanced and sensationalistic.”

While there have been attempts by some political opponents of President Obama to slight his handling of the job, Haitian Americans are nearly unanimous in praising the president and the U.S. efforts. Fully 96% approve of the repsonse by the president and the U.S., and 88% approve of the job of the U.N.

But 60% of respondents agreed with the statement that the Haitian government “has practically disappeared since the earthquake,” and 63% disapprove of the response by the nation’s president, Rene Preval.

“Our poll shows how deeply Haitian Americans have been impacted by the earthquake, and the extent to which they are willing to help rebuild their native country,” said Sandy Close, the executive director of NAM, which represents 2,500 ethnic media outlets. “It also shows the level of concern that respondents have for whether the Haitian government is capable of providing the leadership needed during the crisis and the reconstruction to follow.”

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