Voters Don’t Trust Government on Ohio Train Disaster
Most voters give the federal government low ratings for its response to this month’s train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio.
The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone and online survey finds that only 30% of Likely U.S. Voters rate the government’s response to the Ohio train derailment as good or excellent. Forty-six percent give the government a poor rating for handling the disaster. (To see survey question wording, click here.)
After the February 3 derailment of a Norfolk Southern freight train released the toxic chemical vinyl chloride, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) said tests “show no water quality concerns” in East Palestine. However, only 23% of voters say that they would feel safe drinking the water If they lived near the site where the train derailed, including just nine percent (9%) who would feel Very Safe drinking the water there. Seventy-one percent (71%) would not feel safe drinking the water near East Palestine, including 47% who say they’d feel Not At All Safe.
The survey of 1,000 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on February 21-23, 2023 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.
Distrust of the EPA’s water-quality assurances in East Palestine crosses political categories, although more Republicans (59%) than Democrats (37%) or voters not affiliated with either major party (47%) say they would feel Not At All Safe drinking the water near the Ohio train derailment site.
Eighty-two percent (82%) of voters have closely followed news reports about the train derailment in Ohio, including 49% who say they’ve followed the news Very Closely. Fifty-two percent (52%) of Republicans, 47% of Democrats and 48% of unaffiliated voters have followed news about the Ohio train derailment Very Closely.
While 44% of Democrats rate the federal government’s response to the East Palestine train derailment as good or excellent, only 15% of Republicans and 28% of unaffiliated voters share that opinion. Sixty-three percent (63%) of Republicans, 27% of Democrats and 48% of unaffiliated voters give the government a poor rating for its response to the derailment.
More men (30%) than women voters (16%) say they would feel at least somewhat safe drinking the water near East Palestine. Men (34%) are also more likely than women voters (25%) to give the federal government a good or excellent rating for its response to the Ohio train derailment.
Forty-eight percent (48%) of whites, 37% of black voters and 50% of other minorities say they would feel Not At All Safe drinking the water near the Ohio train derailment site. Black voters are least likely to give the federal government a poor rating for its response to the derailment.
While 33% of voters under 40 say they would feel at least somewhat safe drinking the water near East Palestine, only 18% of those ages 40-64 and 20% of voters 65 and older share that confidence. Voters under 40 are also significantly less likely to rate the federal government’s response to the Ohio train derailment as poor.
Breaking down the electorate by income categories, 48% of voters earning above $200,000 a year say they’d feel at least somewhat safe drinking the water near East Palestine, compared to just 12% of those with annual incomes below $30,000. Voters earning between $30,000 and $50,000 a year are more likely to give the government a poor rating for its response to the Ohio train derailment.
President Joe Biden’s strongest supporters are most likely to accept the EPA’s claims about water quality near the train crash site. Among voters who Strongly Approve of Biden’s job performance as president, 50% would feel at least somewhat safe drinking the water near East Palestine. By contrast, among voters who Strongly Disapprove of Biden’s performance, only six percent (6%) say they’d feel at least somewhat safe drinking the water near the derailment site, and 75% would feel Not At All Safe.
A year after Russia’s invasion, nearly half of American voters see the war in Ukraine as a stalemate.
After announcing her 2024 presidential campaign, former South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley leads Biden in a hypothetical matchup, but badly trails former President Donald Trump among GOP voters.
The survey of 900 U.S. Likely Voters was conducted on February 21-23, 2023 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.
Rasmussen Reports is a media company specializing in the collection, publication and distribution of public opinion information.
We conduct public opinion polls on a variety of topics to inform our audience on events in the news and other topics of interest. To ensure editorial control and independence, we pay for the polls ourselves and generate revenue through the sale of subscriptions, sponsorships, and advertising. Nightly polling on politics, business and lifestyle topics provides the content to update the Rasmussen Reports web site many times each day. If it's in the news, it's in our polls. Additionally, the data drives a daily update newsletter and various media outlets across the country.
Some information, including the Rasmussen Reports daily Presidential Tracking Poll and commentaries are available for free to the general public. Subscriptions are available for $4.95 a month or 34.95 a year that provide subscribers with exclusive access to more than 20 stories per week on upcoming elections, consumer confidence, and issues that affect us all. For those who are really into the numbers, Platinum Members can review demographic crosstabs and a full history of our data.
To learn more about our methodology, click here.