Poll: Most Americans think Puerto Rico isn't getting enough help

Poll: Most Americans think Puerto Rico isn't getting enough help
© Getty Images

Most Americans think the federal government's response to the destruction left by hurricanes Irma and Maria in Puerto Rico is insufficient, according to a new Kaiser Family Foundation poll released Thursday.

According to the poll, 62 percent of respondents said most Puerto Ricans affected by the hurricanes aren't getting the help they need.

Responses were heavily skewed by party affiliation.

ADVERTISEMENT
Eighty percent of Democrats said the Puerto Ricans aren't getting enough help and only 17 percent said they are getting enough help. A majority of Republican respondents, 56 percent, said the island's residents are getting the help they need, with 38 percent saying they aren't.

A majority of independents, 61 percent, said they didn't think Puerto Ricans are getting enough help; 31 percent said they are.

Respondents were also asked whether the federal government is doing enough to restore basic services in Puerto Rico.

Overall, 52 percent said not enough had been done, and 40 percent said efforts were sufficient.

Among Democrats, the split was 74 percent to 19 percent, with most saying the federal government's efforts are not enough. In contrast, 74 percent of Republicans said the government is doing enough to restore basic services, and only 17 percent disagreed.

A majority of independents said the government's efforts are insufficient; that split was 54 percent to 38 percent.

Just over half of all respondents, 52 percent, said the response has been too slow.

While the Trump administration has mostly blamed logistical challenges and existing deficiencies in Puerto Rico for any delays in getting the island back on its feet, Democrats have mostly argued the administration's response has been to blame.

Respondents were more likely to side with Democrats on that point. Forty-four percent said the federal government’s slow response was to blame for the delay in restoring basic services, while 32 percent blamed disorganization in the local government. A minority, 10 percent, blamed insufficient media coverage.

Republicans and Democrats were heavily split on two questions: Whether the crisis in Puerto Rico was treated the same way as it would have been elsewhere in the United States, and whether ethnicity played a factor in any delays.

Sixty-seven percent of Democrats said the Puerto Rico response paled in comparison to other natural disasters in the United States, while 65 percent of Republicans said the Trump administration has done “about the same” as it has for other regions.

On ethnicity, 69 percent of Democrats think the federal government would have done more in a “wealthier place with fewer Hispanic people” and 80 percent of Republicans say those factors have not played a part in the federal response.

The poll surveyed 1,008 adults from Oct. 4-8 on landlines and cellphones with a margin of error of 4 percentage points.