Since 2015, opinions about the federal government’s handling of several major issues have become less positive and much more partisan.
Ten years ago this weekend, Hurricane Katrina roared ashore on the Gulf Coast, killing more than 1,000 people. From the start, the tragedy had a powerful racial component – images of poor, mostly black New Orleans residents stranded on rooftops and crowded amid fetid conditions in what was then the Louisiana Superdome.
The public followed news about the missing Malaysia Airlines plane more closely than any other story last week. While the story has attracted extensive news coverage, most Americans do not feel there has been too much coverage of the missing jetliner.
Fewer Americans are very closely following news about the typhoon that struck the Philippines than followed news about other recent major disasters. And fewer are donating to Philippines disaster relief efforts.
As Oklahoma recovers from last week’s tornado, a majority of Americans (59%) say federal spending in response to natural disasters is emergency aid that does not need to be offset by cuts to other programs, while 29% say it does.
Most Americans say that the nation is no better prepared for hurricanes and other natural disasters than it was in 2005. However, the public does see progress in rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf region.
Americans are critical of the government's response to the environmental disaster in the Gulf, but even more so of BP. Support for offshore oil drilling is down, though Republican opinion is unchanged.