Thursday, October 27th, 2005

New National Consensus After Katrina: FIGHT POVERTY

The first poll to look at racial attitudes on governmental policies after Hurricane Katrina found that, by strong majorities, all ethnic groups believe fighting poverty is more important than fighting terrorism.

“To my great surprise, the priority was fighting poverty,” said Sergio Bendixon, who conducted the poll for New California Media. “It was not on the radar before Katrina.”

“This is a sea-change in attitudes,” he added. “This is an opportunity where the country is united.”

A recent, much-cited Roper Poll taken before Hurricane Katrina found that most Americans blamed poverty on people’s choices, and that there was little need for government to establish programs that would address it.

That consensus seems to have taken a complete turn since the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, the flooding of New Orleans, and the destruction of the Gulf Coast.

Many tie the Katrina recovery effort to the war, agreeing that the best way to fund the recovery effort was to remove troops from Iraq. Communities of color–including Blacks (77%), Latinos (69%), and Asian Americans (60%)–were much more likely than whites (46%) to agree with this particular point.

64% of Blacks and 57% of Latinos said they were very angry with President Bush for his handling of the aftermath of the hurricane. More than half of all Blacks, Latinos, and Asians felt that they could not rely on government to protect their families in a crisis. Half of whites disagreed.

The national survey polled 1035 Hispanics, Asians, African Americans and non-Hispanic whites on Hurricane Katrina’s impact. The poll was conducted in six languages, including Spanish, Mandarin, and Vietnamese, and was released today by New America Media.

The poll result’s executive summary is here. A fuller report is here.

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