A Public Policy Polling survey taken of residents of Louisiana suggests that President George W. Bush’s handling of the Hurricane Katrina catastrophe is more admired that President Barack Obama’s handling of the BP oil leak five years later.
“Louisianans are feeling more and more that George W. Bush’s leadership on Katrina was better than Obama’s on the spill. 54% think Bush did the superior job of helping the state through a crisis to 33% who pick Obama. That 21 point margin represents a widening since PPP asked the same question in June and found Bush ahead by a 15 point margin. Bush beats Obama 87-2 on that score with Republicans and 42-30 with independents, while Obama has just a 65-24 advantage with Democrats.”
Mind, memories of Katrina have somewhat faded and time has passed enough to allow a certain perspective on the presidency of George W. Bush. Both President Obama and the BP oil leak disaster are more immediate. And it is true that many in Louisiana who were the worst affected by Katrina have moved out of the state.
Nevertheless, the PPP survey suggests that the reputation of President George W. Bush is on the rebound, while that of President Barack Obama has been horribly damaged by mistakes in policy, speech, and protocol and the worsening economic malaise.
Even more remarkable, Katrina left far more death and destruction than the BP oil leak has yet wrought. The scars of the destruction caused by Katrina can still be seen in New Orleans, especially in the poverty stricken Ninth Ward, an area little visited by tourists who favor the more picturesque French Quarter and Garden District.
The destruction wrought by the BP oil leak is more subtle, with fishing areas devastated, and coastlines soiled. Even so, it may be that the greatest damage caused by the BP disaster has been as a result of political policy. The moratorium on deep water oil drilling, imposed by the Obama administration, is seen to be unnecessary, has devastated the economy of the Gulf Coast more thoroughly than did the oil leak.
That may be the key to the disparity between how Bush is regarded as opposed as how Obama is regarded. President Bush may have been accused of moving too slowly to deal with Katrina and its aftermath. But he has never been accused, as Obama has been accused, of deliberately making things worse. And that may be the legacy that Louisiana ultimately will give these two very different Presidents.
Source: Polling on the Spill, Tom Jenson, Public Policy Polling, August 27th, 2010