Most Believe Bush Administration Lacks Katrina Plan

Most Americans say the Bush administration doesn't have a clear plan for dealing with Katrina's aftermath, and a majority now holds a negative view of the president's handling of the situation -- although attitudes remain deeply divided by partisanship.

More than six in 10 say the administration lacks a clear plan to handle the situation caused by the hurricane and subsequent flooding. The percentage of Americans who think there's no clear plan is somewhat higher now than it was in an ABC News/Washington Post poll on Sept. 2 when 80 percent of New Orleans was under water: Today, 63 percent say the administration lacks a plan, up from 55 percent.

The full results of the poll will be available at 5 p.m.

Sampling, data collection and tabulation for this poll were done by TNS.

Overall, 54 percent disapprove of the way Bush is handling the post-Katrina situation; 44 percent approve. Since the last ABC/Post poll, disapproval is up by seven points while approval is relatively stable (it was 46 percent); today fewer are undecided about the job Bush is doing in this area. These numbers continue to reflect a deep partisan divide: Seven in 10 Republicans approve of the president's performance, compared to only 22 percent of Democrats.

Intensity is with Bush's detractors, as 39 percent strongly disapprove of his handling of the situation, while 24 percent strongly approve of what he's doing. Democrats are more apt to strongly disapprove of the president and Republicans are more apt to strongly approve. Independents are about twice as likely to strongly disapprove as to strongly approve.

Bush's Handling of Katrina's Aftermath
  Approve NET Approve Strongly Disapprove NET Disapprove Strongly
All   44%   24%   54%   39%
Democrats   22   8   77   61
Independents   44   19   55   41
Republicans   71   51   27   12

Blacks are more critical than whites of Bush's handling of the Katrina aftermath, but that's largely a function of party affiliation: White Democrats are about as likely as black Democrats to disapprove of the president's performance in this area.

SUPREME COURT -- After a week's delay the Senate hearings on John Roberts begin today, and a majority of Americans say he should be confirmed as chief justice of the United States.

Support for Roberts' confirmation is essentially unchanged, at 55 percent, from what it was when he was slated to replace Sandra Day O'Connor as associate justice; Bush has now tapped Roberts to replace William Rehnquist, who died Sept. 3. Also almost unchanged is the percentage who haven't made up their minds about Roberts; about one in five is undecided about whether the Senate should confirm him as chief.

Three-quarters of Republicans and a majority of independents think the Senate should confirm Roberts, while Democrats are more evenly divided, 41 percent-37 percent, on his confirmation.

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, PaA.