Poll: Storm recovery not expected to improve under Democrats

Published 5:38 pm Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Most U.S. residents feel the Gulf Coast rebuilding process after Hurricane Katrina is taking too long and the pace is unlikely to pick up under the new Democratic Congress, according to a new poll.

Two-thirds of the 1,125 adults surveyed nationwide said the pace of recovery was too slow, and 64 percent felt that Democratic control of Congress would have no effect on it, pollsters said.

The survey released Tuesday was made by the Marist College Institute for Public Opinion in Poughkeepsie, N.Y., for the Children’s Health Fund and National Center for Disaster Preparedness at Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health.

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Pollsters called telephone numbers generated randomly, with each region surveyed in proportion to its population nationwide, from Feb. 12-15. The margin of error was plus or minus 3 percent.

“It is clear that the American public is aware of and distressed by the painfully slow pace of the recovery in the Gulf,” said Dr. Irwin Redlener, president of the fund, director of the center and author of “Americans at Risk: Why We Are Not Prepared for Megadisasters and What We Can Do Now.”

“People are frustrated by the response of government, and it’s easy to understand why,” he said in a news release.

The poll also found that just a bit more than a third of the people polled believe a Democratic-led Congress will improve disaster preparedness.

Other findings include:

— People think that the responsibility for the recovery from Katrina is shared evenly between the federal government and state and local governments. People were asked to give a percentage for federal responsibility, and for state-local responsibility. The average was 54 percent for federal, 46 percent for state-local.

— About one third, 34 percent, think the country is better prepared for a natural disaster than last year. Nearly half — 48 percent — feel there was no change and 18 percent believe the nation is less prepared.

— Just less than half, or 46 percent, think the nation is better prepared for a terrorist attack, compared to 36 percent saying there was no change and 18 percent saying the country is less prepared.