Poll: Bush Approval Drops

Seven in 10 blacks, for instance, believe New Orleans would have received better flood protection and emergency preparedness resources if it had been a wealthier, whiter city, rather than a largely poor, African-American one. Fewer than three in 10 whites agree.

Similarly, 76 percent of blacks think the federal government would have responded more quickly to rescue people trapped by floodwaters if more of them had been wealthy and white rather than poorer and black. Fewer than a quarter of whites share that view.

And among blacks, fewer but still a sizable majority, 63 percent, think problems with the hurricane relief effort are an indication of broader racial inequality. Among whites, a quarter agree.

There's the further issue of perceptions of Bush's own empathy. Sixty-eight percent of blacks think he doesn't care about the problems facing black people in this country; among whites, that declines to 28 percent. And even more blacks -- 88 percent, more than in any other group-- say Bush doesn't understand the problems of people like them.

PARTISANSHIP -- On explicitly racial issues, views depend heavily on racial perspectives. On broader political issues, though, it's partisanship that counts the most (and blacks are the most loyal Democratic voting bloc).

Overall, for example, 84 percent of blacks disapprove of Bush's job performance, and 69 percent disapprove strongly -- but those ratings are essentially no different than they've been all year, and are much the same among black and white Democrats alike. Similarly, seven in 10 Republicans approve of the president's performance on Katrina, compared with only 22 percent of Democrats -- with white and black Democrats again in general agreement.

Putting some blame on the victims is another area, and a less explicitly political one, in which differences are more partisan than racial. This poll asked what was a bigger problem -- that some people stayed in the hurricane's path because they didn't take the warnings seriously, or that some people had no way to leave and the government failed to provide transportation. Six in 10 Republicans say it was the former; six in 10 Democrats say the latter, with similar views among black and white Democrats alike.

Anger at the government's response also is more partisan than racial. Just over six in 10 Democrats are angry about it, regardless of their race, compared with just under a quarter of Republicans.

These results are from an ABC News/Washington Post poll on Hurricane Katrina and other topics that will be released in its entirety at 5 p.m. today. The poll was conducted by telephone Sept. 8-11, 2005, among a random national sample of 1,201 adults, including an oversample of 200 black respondents. The results have a three-point error margin. Fieldwork by TNS of Horsham, Pa.

Click here for PDF version with full questionnaire and results.

Click here for more ABC News polls in our Poll Vault.

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