Thursday, May 10, 2007

EXTRA: Dissatisfaction with government ...


From AP by way of KATC3:

Dissatisfaction with government rivals crime as the biggest concern of people in New Orleans more than 20 months after Hurricane Katrina, a poll released Wednesday shows.

Mayor Ray Nagin's approval rating declined, and the percentage of residents who say they might leave in the next two years is essentially unchanged from last fall, the poll by the University of New Orleans shows.

UNO political scientist Susan Howell said this was the first time in her 20 years of conducting quality of life surveys that any other issue rivaled crime as the biggest problem facing New Orleans. Thirty four percent of respondents said dissatisfaction with government was the biggest problem facing the city, up from 18 percent in October 2006, the last time the poll was conducted. Meanwhile, 29 percent cited crime or not feeling safe, down slightly.

"People need to achieve a greater level of comfort here for the recovery to move forward," Howell said.

Howell characterized attitudes about the local recovery as mixed, with residents less worried than a year ago and seeing improvement since October in some quality of life issues such as the cleanliness of New Orleans and availability of housing here and in neighboring Jefferson Parish.

The UNO report also cautioned that the survey did not include evacuees still living outside the area and that most of the respondents were reached on land-line telephones _ some residents are in homes that still lack land-line service. Howell said pollsters were able to reach only a few residents by cell phone.

The poll also found 29 percent of New Orleans' residents and about one-third in Jefferson Parish considered themselves somewhat or very likely to leave in the next two years, which it said was essentially unchanged from October. Among those most likely to consider leaving: young people and families and those with higher levels of depression, the poll said.

Sixty-one percent of those polled approved of parish president Aaron Broussard, who is seeking re-election; that compared with 53 percent last fall. Reasons for the increase, Howell said, could include relative "economic boom" that the area is seeing.

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