Poll: Many share blame in storm response - FOX 35 News Orlando

Poll: Many share blame in storm response

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There's plenty of blame to go around for the winter storm response that left thousands stranded on Georgia roadways, a new InsiderAdvantage/FOX 5/Morris News poll indicates.

The survey, conducted Wednesday night in conjunction with OpinionSavvy, says that no one leader or entity is being blamed alone.

Respondents answered "Mayor or County Officials in the Affected Areas" the most, at 28 percent, when asked who they blamed for problems related to government response to the storm. State DOT was second most named, at 20 percent, while Gov. Nathan Deal got blame from 15 percent of responders. Meteorologists received the least amount of blame, at 12 percent. Some 25 percent said they were undecided.

Forty-nine percent of Georgians surveyed said they disapproved of Deal's handling of the storm; 34 percent said they approved and 17 percent had no opinion. Politically speaking, more Republicans said they disapproved of Deal's performance than Democrats – 47 percent to 35 percent (17 percent had no opinion). Fifty percent of independent voters they disapproved of Deal's performance. Deal is a Republican and is running for re-election this year.

InsiderAdvantage CEO/Fox5 Political Analyst Matt Towery said, "It should be noted that this is a statewide poll, but the results appear to be about the same from metro-Atlanta respondents and the rest of the state. That said, it is the entire state that will vote in November, so we felt it important to include all areas in the poll.

"We did not name Mayor Reed individually because he is responsible for a relatively small segment of the entire state. But the fact that mayors and county officials received a healthy portion of the blame tells us that the local and nation press coverage has not been kind to Mayor Reed, just as it has not been kind to Gov. Deal. Of course Reed does not face a reelection year and Deal does.

"With respect to Deal's approval ratings in dealing with the storm, the disapproval percentage is substantial, but not as high as I might have expected. I personally think part of the reason that a majority of respondents don't disapprove of Deal alone is that many got to see firsthand in the press conference of Wednesday just how out-of-touch his own emergency director seemed to be during the middle of the storm.

"Most people don't know the difference between a GEMA Director and the Georgia DOT, but clearly they are spreading the blame beyond Deal and directly to other state and local officials. Still, this will be an issue which Deal must hope will melt in the heat of a long summer and before a November election. From past experience my guess is that it will.

"But there remains once caveat. Deal's numbers were most impacted among independent voters and women. (There was a substantial gender gap as to approval.) Independent and female voters are currently the biggest problem for his reelection and Winter Storm Leon did not help with that issue," said Towery.

The poll is a random sample of 434 Georgians and was weighted for age, race, gender and political affiliation. Margin of error is 4.6 percent.

Visit InsiderAdvantage for more information.

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