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48% Give Positive Marks to Government Response to Irene

Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Hurricane Irene didn’t hit the East Coast of the United States nearly as hard as was initially projected, but Americans give the government and the media generally good marks for not taking any chances.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 48% of Adults rate the federal government response to Hurricane Irene as good or excellent. Only nine percent (9%) think the government did a poor job. (To see survey question wording, click here.) 

By comparison, 43% of Americans gave President Obama positive marks for his initial response to last year’s Gulf oil spill, while 26% rated his response as poor.  Fifty percent (50%) scored the government’s response to the late spring storms in the South and Midwest as good or excellent, while 10% thought they did a poor job.

Twenty percent (20%) of adults believe government officials overreacted to the dangers posed by Irene, but 64% disagree and say they didn’t overreact. Sixteen percent (16%) are undecided.

Given the round-the-clock media coverage of the hurricane as it approached U.S. shores, the government response is perhaps not surprising, and 35% of Americans think the media overstated the potential danger of Irene. Eleven percent (11%) think the danger was understated. However, a plurality (48%) of adults feels the media accurately estimated the potential danger from the hurricane.

Among the one-in-three Americans who think the media overestimated the possible danger from Irene, 66% believe they intentionally overstated it. Only 26% of that group say the media honestly thought the hurricane could be as bad as predicted.

Most Americans closely followed news about Hurricane Irene as it neared our shores and give good marks to the media coverage of threatening bad weather.

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The survey of 1,000 Adults was conducted on September 3-4, 2011 by Rasmussen Reports. The margin of sampling error is +/- 3 percentage points with a 95% level of confidence. Field work for all Rasmussen Reports surveys is conducted by Pulse Opinion Research, LLC. See methodology.


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