First Gallup Poll on Hurricane Response Finds Americans Extremely at Odds

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By: E&P Staff

A CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll released this morning shows that the country very divided over who is primarily to blame for the poor emergency response to the hurricane castastrophe on the Gulf Coast.

Despite much criticism directed at the White House and federal government in the past week, President Bush seems to be maintaining much of his core support.

While 42% of respondents characterized Bush’s response to the disaster as bad or terrible, 35% said it was good or great. Federal agencies got exactly the same marks. State and local officials fared only a little better–their response was described as bad or terrible by 35% and good or great by 37%.

Again, the views were strongly based on partisan leanings, with Republicans giving the president good grades on this issue by a 69% to 10% margin, while Democrats’ views were precisely the opposite. But independents gave Bush a thumbs down by 47% to 29%.

Asked who was MOST responsible for the post-hurricane problems, 13% picked Bush, 18% said federal agencies, 25% selected state/local officials and 38% said no one was to blame.

Asked if top officials in federal agencies responsible for emergencies should be fired, 29% said yes, and 63% no.

The poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 5-6, days after the Aug. 29 storm swept in from the Gulf of Mexico, slamming Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama.

Of those polled, 93 percent said Katrina was the worst natural disaster to hit the United States in their lifetime.

While 56% of U.S. adults believe Hurricane Katrina’s winds and flooding devastated New Orleans beyond repair, 63% said they believe the city should rebuild.

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