Most voters give Uncle Sam the thumbs-up for Sandy response

New Yorkers wait for assistance from a FEMA trailer on Coney Island after Sandy hit the area. New Yorkers wait for assistance from a FEMA trailer on Coney Island after Sandy hit the area. Bebeto Matthews/AP

Most voters were pleased with the federal government’s response to megastorm Sandy, which ravaged the East Coast in October, according to a new survey.

Fifty-five percent of likely U.S. voters rated the government’s response to the disaster good or excellent in a poll that Rasmussen Reports conducted last weekend. Survey respondents were about evenly divided over whether the federal government or the states should be responsible for post-storm recovery costs. Forty-one percent of those surveyed said Uncle Sam should play a bigger role in paying for a disaster’s aftermath, while 39 percent believed state government should take primary responsibility for footing the bill. Twenty percent of respondents said they were not sure who should pick up the bulk of the tab.

The question over who should pay more in cleanup costs reflected political affiliations. Fifty-six percent of Republicans said states should bear most of the costs associated with disaster recovery, while 51 percent of Democrats and 42 percent of those who were unaffiliated believed it was largely the federal government’s responsibility.

The survey also had some good news for the Federal Emergency Management Agency. Sixty-four percent of respondents had a favorable opinion of the agency compared to just 28 percent in August 2008. After the government’s response to Hurricane Katrina in 2005, Democrats in particular remained very critical of FEMA for the remainder of the George W. Bush administration; now Democrats have a higher opinion of the agency than Republicans and unaffiliated voters.

The federal government pays a portion of flood insurance costs for homeowners near water, but according to the survey, 56 percent of respondents don’t think the government should contribute to flood insurance, while 31 percent said such payments should continue.

Rasmussen Reports surveyed 1,000 likely voters from Nov. 16-17.

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