New Poll of Puerto Ricans Reveals How They Really Feel About Donald Trump's Response to Hurricane Maria

WASHINGTON, D.C. - OCTOBER 19: (AFP-OUT) President Donald Trump speaks to the media during a meeting with Governor Ricardo Rossello of Puerto Rico in the Oval Office at the White House on October 19, 2017 in Washington, D.C. Trump and Rossello spoke about the continuing recovery efforts following Hurricane Maria. (Photo by Kevin Dietsch-Pool/Getty Images)

Residents of Puerto Rico are overwhelmingly dissatisfied with how President Donald Trump handled recovery and restoration efforts following Hurricane Maria, which devastated the island last year and left thousands dead and countless displaced.

In a Washington Post-Kaiser Foundation Poll released on Wednesday showed that 80 percent of Puerto Ricans - American citizens - hold a negative view of Trump's management of the storm.

Residents of the island gave negative reviews across the board, from Trump to their local governments.

"How would you rate the job each has done in responding to Hurricane Maria?"

Only 15 percent gave Trump a positive review; 80 percent said the president did a fair or poor job.

Trump tweeted on Wednesday that he did an "unappreciated great job in Puerto Rico." Trump said the U.S. territory is an "inaccessible island" (what?) with "very poor electricity" and that "we are ready for the big one that is coming."

Last month, a George Washington University study found that 2,975 people died as a result of the storm, a massive upward revision from the initial estimate of 64.

On Thursday, as Hurricane Florence churned toward the Carolinas, Trump callously denied the study's findings on Twitter after touting his leadership following the category 4 cyclone as "an incredible, unsung success."

He blamed Democrats, claiming they somehow fudged the numbers to make him look bad.

The Peurto Rican government also scored an unimpressive 25 percent approval for its handling of the storm. Governor Ricardo Rosselló (D) got a 31 percent approval, the federal government 39 percent, and municipal governments scored the highest with 41 percent of respondents approving of their handling of the storm.

"Fully 83 percent reported either major damage to their homes, losing power for more than three months, employment setbacks or worsening health problems, among other effects of the storm," the Washington Post reported on Wednesday.

Per the Washington Post:

  • Two-thirds say the storm caused major or minor damage to their homes, and most of them say the structures have not been restored to their original condition.
  • Ninety-three percent say their areas need more resources to repair roads and highways.
  • Fifty percent say people in their households could not get enough water to drink, and 53 percent say they are still worried about the quality of water in their homes.
  • More than 4 in 10 Puerto Ricans say their power was not restored until January or later — four months after the storm — and while nearly all residents now have access to working grid power, outages are common. More than 3 in 4 say they lost power for at least one hour in the previous month.
  • Since Maria hit, 24 percent say their households borrowed money from friends or relatives to make ends meet, 26 percent had problems paying for food, 17 percent fell behind in paying their rent or mortgage, and 22 percent took on an extra job or worked extra hours to make ends meet.

The poll did contain some good news. Ninety-nine percent of respondents said they have electric power (100 percent responded that the storm knocked out power), and 75 percent said life is either totally or somewhat back to normal.

Half of those surveyed said they have an optimistic view of Puerto Rico's future, and 88 percent said they had not lost a job since September 2017. Seventy-one percent said they had not had regular or overtime work hours cut, and 75 percent said their households had not experienced lost income either from a small business or from unpaid days of work.

Conducted from July 3 to August 29, 2018, the poll surveyed 1,500 adults aged 18 and over living in Puerto Rico when Maria hit last September. The margin of error is 3.5 percentage points.

Overall, though, Puerto Ricans are not happy with Trump's response to the storm, and they've vented their anger on Twitter.

Social media was filled with digs at the president.

"Trump is not fit to be president."

Puerto Ricans are American citizens. It would behoove Trump to remember that.

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