On October 18, 2017, President Donald Trump met with Puerto Rico’s Governor, Ricardo Rossello, to discuss the island’s recovery efforts after Hurricanes Irma and Maria pummeled the island . Shortly after the meeting, they took questions from reporters. One of these reporters asked President Trump to use a 10 point scale to rate the White House’s response to Puerto Rico’s woes.
Although Governor Rossello’s comments made it clear that the island was facing a serious humanitarian catastrophe and that Puerto Rico needed even more federal resources, the President gave the federal government’s efforts a perfect 10 out of 10.
Do Americans agree with President’s Trump’s score? Since Hurricane Harvey swept through Texas and Louisiana, many opinion polls have been asking Americans what they think of President Trump’s or the federal government’s disaster relief efforts. The most recent FoxNews poll, conducted on 22-24 October 2017, did not ask respondents whether or not they agreed with President’s Trump’s evaluation. It it did however ask them to “rate the Trump administration’s response to recent hurricanes” in Puerto Rico, Florida and Houston.
As noted in the graph below, the Trump administration earned higher marks for its response to Hurricanes Harvey and Irma than Hurricane Maria.
The next graph breaks down these numbers along respondents’ political leanings. Rather than looking at the response to Houston or Florida, let’s focus on their opinions of the Trump administration’s handling of the situation in Puerto Rico.
In conclusion, it is clear that a majority of Americans believe that the Trump administration’s reactions to Hurricanes Harvey, Irma and Maria are far from perfect. But partisanship does play role in how Americans rate the government’s efforts.
This short analysis raises three questions:
- If Trump’s supporters give the Trump administration a more positive rating, are they be willing to increase disaster relief spending for Puerto Rico? Experts believe that it will cost between $45-$95 billion to rebuild the island.
- How stable are Americans’ opinions? In other words, have Americans’ opinion fluctuated from early October when the U.S. media paid close attention to Puerto Rico’s post-Maria challenges? Similarly, will American opinion change as as the situation in the island receives less media coverage?
- Finally, how do Puerto Ricans living in the mainland rate the Trump administration’s efforts? How does their opinions compare to other Latinos’ and Latinas’ views of the situation?
We will answer some of these questions in upcoming posts. But for now, what do you think of the Trump administration’s efforts? Do you agree with President Trump’s rating or are you more critical? Let us know.