NEWSWEEK: One Year After Katrina: 58 Percent of Americans are Dissatisfied With Progress in Rebuilding New Orleans, Gulf Coast ... 51 Percent Say Bush Has Not Followed Up on His Promise to Rebuild

Aug 27, 2006, 01:00 ET from Newsweek

    NEW YORK, Aug. 27 /PRNewswire/ -- One year after Hurricane Katrina, 58
 percent of Americans are dissatisfied with the progress that has been made
 in rebuilding the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, according to the
 latest Newsweek Poll. Only 28 percent are satisfied. Fifty-one percent of
 those polled say President Bush has not followed through on his promise to
 rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast; 32 percent say that he has. Poll
 respondents who were dissatisfied with the lack of progress to date differ
 as to who is most to blame for the lack of progress: 33 percent say the
 heads of federal agencies like FEMA and the Department of Homeland
 Security, 24 percent say President Bush, 19 percent say state and local
 government officials in the affected areas and 20 percent say all or a
 combination of these parties deserve most of the blame.
     (Photo: )
     New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin is at the center of the controversy. He
 cannot be faulted for the city's shoddily built levees, or a vacationing,
 clueless White House, or the Force of Nature. Even so, he is the theater
 commander in the battle to save New Orleans, and the war is still not going
 well, report Assistant Managing Editor Evan Thomas, General Editor Jonathan
 Darman and Assistant Editor Sarah Childress in the September 4 issue of
 Newsweek (on newsstands Monday, August 28).
     Nagin is intelligent and independent and not corrupt, qualities not
 always associated with Louisiana fat-cat politics, they write. But he can
 be ineffectual, too eager to please and too easily distracted. And his
 detachment vexes some local organizers. The Rev. Leonard Lucas Jr., the
 wealthy pastor of the Light City Church in the hard-hit Lower Ninth Ward,
 styles himself as Nagin's black conscience. Devoted to getting jobs and
 federal money into Lower Nine, Lucas seized on the reconstruction of the
 Jackson Barracks, the local home of a Louisiana National Guard unit, as a
 chance to get contracts for minority-owned companies. Lucas persuaded Nagin
 to go to a meeting on the project, and crowed afterwards, "We got the mayor
 on board and he liked it. He didn't like it-he loved it!" But then Lucas
 never heard back from Nagin. Now the reverend is bitter. "I've never seen a
 black man hate his people like that. All he did was sell his people out."
 Calling Nagin a "white Republican," he denounced the mayor for joining with
 the white business community in trying to drive blacks out of the city.
 Nagin insists he's trying to restore black neighborhoods but accepts that
 he is going to be a target of frustration. "I'm the mayor, I take those
 hits at times," he says.
     Elsewhere in the package, Investigative Correspondent Mark Hosenball
 reports on efforts to hire Dutch engineers to help rebuild New Orleans'
 levees. The Dutch are, no argument, the world's experts in the field and
 U.S. engineers are impressed by the Dutch system, but so far, bureaucratic
 sluggishness has slowed reconstruction. Much of the contentious debate over
 rebuilding the city has centered on what to do about the lowest-lying
 areas, including the hard-hit Ninth Ward. Early cost estimates made it seem
 that whole sections of the city would have to be abandoned. But Hans
 Vrijling, a renowned authority on flood control who designed part of the
 Dutch system, says it should be possible to protect all of New Orleans-even
 low-lying sections-from storm surges more than 10 times Katrina's. The
 price tag: less than $10 billion.
     Also, Columnist Jonathan Alter looks at whether Katrina succeeded in
 prompting a fresh look at the 37 million Americans living below the poverty
 line. One year ago, Alter wrote, "It takes a hurricane ... It takes the
 sight of the United States with a big black eye-visible around the world-to
 help the rest of us begin to see again." He ended on a hopeful note: "What
 kind of president does George W. Bush want to be? ... If he seizes the
 moment, he could undertake a midcourse correction that might materially
 change the lives of millions. Katrina gives Bush an
 only-Nixon-could-go-to-China opportunity, if he wants it."
     Some readers said at the time that this was naive-that the president,
 if not indifferent to the problems of black people, as the singer Kanye
 West charged, was not going to do anything significant to help them. At
 first this seemed too cynical. The week after the article appeared, Bush
 went to Jackson Square in New Orleans and made televised promises not only
 for Katrina relief but to address some of the underlying struggles of the
 poor. Well, it turned out that the critics were largely right. Not only has
 the president done much less than he promised on the financing and
 logistics of Gulf Coast recovery, he has dropped the ball entirely on using
 the storm and its aftermath as an opportunity to fight poverty.
                   (Read entire package at
                                 Newsweek Poll
               Princeton Survey Research Associates International
                             Final Topline Results
     N = 1,002 national adults, 18 and over
     Margin of error: plus or minus 4
     Interviewing dates: 8/24-25/06
     316   Republicans (plus or minus 7)
     330   Democrats (plus or minus 6)
     319   Independents (plus or minus 7)
     582   Dissatisfied with the amount of progress in rebuilding New Orleans
           and Gulf Coast (Q6=2) (plus or minus 5)
     498   Favor federal funding of stem cell research (Q9=1) (plus or minus 5)
     386   Oppose federal funding of stem cell research (Q9=2) (plus or minus
     v895  Registered voters (plus or minus 4)
     290   Republicans (plus or minus 7)
     305   Democrats (plus or minus 6)
     279   Independents (plus or minus 7)
     162   Stem cell research key issue in vote for major political offices
           (Q15=1) (plus or minus 9)
     504   Stem cell research important, but not enough to determine vote
           (Q15=2) (plus or minus 5)
     179   Stem cell research not important in vote for major political offices
           (Q15=3) (plus or minus 9)
     Data is weighted so that sample demographics match Census Current
 Population Survey parameters for gender, age, education, race, region, and
 population density.
     Reported sample sizes are unweighted and should not be used to compute
     An asterisk (*) indicates a value less than 1%.
     1. Almost one year after Hurricane Katrina struck, are you generally
        satisfied or dissatisfied with the progress that has been made in
        rebuilding the city of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast?
     28  Satisfied
     58  Dissatisfied
     14  Don't know
     2. Which of the following, if any, do you think is MOST to blame for the
        lack of progress ...  (READ IN ORDER)
     19  State and local government officials in the affected areas
     33  The heads of federal agencies like FEMA and the Department of Homeland
     24  President Bush himself
     20  All equally/Combination (VOL.)
     1   None of these to blame/Other (VOL.)
     3   Don't know
     3.  All in all, do you think George W. Bush has followed through on his
         promise to rebuild New Orleans and the Gulf Coast, or not?
     Total                  Rep      Dem      Ind
     32     Yes, has        61       16       26
     51     No, has not     16       72       60
     17     Don't know      23       12       14
     100                    100      100      100
     D2.  Now I have just a few more questions so we can describe the people
          who took part in our survey ...  Regardless of how you might have
          voted in recent elections, in politics TODAY, do you consider
          yourself a Republican, Democrat, or Independent?
     Total                                                 RVs
     29     Republican                                     30
     35     Democrat                                       36
     32     Independent                                    31
     2      No party/Not interested in politics (VOL.)     1
     *      Other party (VOL.)                             *
     2      Don't know                                     2
     100                                                   100
     END OF INTERVIEW. THANK RESPONDENT: That completes the interview. Thank
 you very much for your cooperation.
     How the Dutch Keep Cities Dry:
     When the Cameras Left:
     Alter on Poverty:

SOURCE Newsweek