Nearly one in four Iowans were financially affected by flooding or tornadoes this summer according to a new poll from researchers at the University of Iowa. Political science professor David Redlawsk says the poll was conducted in early August and involved random calls to more than 700 registered Iowa voters.
Participants were asked to what extent the natural disasters impacted them economically. Redlawsk says about 5% said it "greatly impacted them," while another 17% said they were "somewhat affected" financially. The researchers were primarily interested in how Iowans felt about the government response to the disasters.
The poll shows nearly 80% felt the local and state government response was either "excellent or good." However, only 47% of the respondents rated the federal response as "excellent or good." Redlawsk said: "Clearly, (Governor Chet Culver), for example, has been taking the federal government to task and I think he’s got Iowans relatively behind him looking at the kind of numbers we saw."
Iowans were also asked if they participated in volunteer efforts to prevent flooding – such as sandbagging – or help clean up after flooding or tornadoes. Redlawsk says 41% said a family member, or they personally, volunteered.
"Fifty-four percent of those who are 18 to 29 (years old) reported volunteering," Redlawsk said. "This suggests, and I think other research suggests it as well, that the younger generation – we call them the millennials – seem to have really embraced the idea of being involved in their communities and we saw that throughout Iowa."
Eighty-five of Iowa’s 99 counties were declared Federal Disaster Areas because of flooding or tornadoes.