Monday, September 12, 2005
A new Newsweek poll shows that President Bush‘s approval rating has fallen to an all-time low of 38%. The drop comes largely in response to the Bush Administration’s — and in particular, FEMA‘s — inability to handle the recent rescue and recovery efforts after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans, Louisiana.
The poll also shows that 57% of people have lost faith in the Administration’s ability to handle a natural disaster. 52% do not feel Bush has the ability to make good decisions in a time of crisis.
The poll of 1,009 people, which has a margin of error of 4%, also showed that the country is still split on issues such as dealing with terrorism, Homeland Security, and military action in Iraq. An overwhelming 66% are not satisfied with the current direction of the country.
The combination of the above issues are likely contributing to President Bush’s declining approval rating. The strong and vocal criticism from Mayor Ray Nagin of New Orleans may be one factor in the near-term decline. Nagin has given a number of publicized interviews during the recovery crisis, and the following is from the Sunday, September 11 broadcast of MSNBC Meet The Press:
MR. RUSSERT: What’s the biggest mistake you made?
MAYOR NAGIN: My biggest mistake is having a fundamental assumption that in the state of Louisiana, with an $18 billion budget, in the country of the United States that can move whole fleets of aircraft carriers across the globe in 24 hours, that my fundamental assumption was get as many people to safety as possible, and that the cavalry would be coming within two to three days, and they didn’t come.
Responding to public criticism, President Bush stated he intends “to lead an investigation to find out what went right and what went wrong.”  The U.S. Congress is expected to investigate the disaster response on the local, state, and federal level as soon as is practical.