Political News

Americans haven't forgotten about Puerto Rico, poll finds

Posted November 20, 2017 4:37 p.m. EST

— Two months ago today, Hurricane Maria made direct landfall in Puerto Rico, devastating the island and wiping out the power grid and transportation infrastructure for its millions of residents.

Now, a broad 70% of Americans -- with majorities in both parties -- think that Puerto Rico is not getting the help it needs in the wake of Maria's destruction, according to a new poll from the Kaiser Family Foundation.

That number has grown from 63% who said the same last month, with the number of Republicans concerned climbing from 38% to 52%. Only two in 10 think the American citizens on the island are getting the help they need in the wake of the storms.

A wide 63% say they are closely following news on Puerto Rico, even two months after the disaster hit.

Less than half of the normal peak load of electricity on the island (47%) had been restored in the most recent numbers on Monday, down from 50% after a transmission line problem last Wednesday.

Updates from the Department of Energy do not currently include the number of residents without power on the island "due to technical limitations," though they add they will again start tracking that number "as soon as the information is available."

The Department of Energy says 18 of the 78 municipalities on the island still have no energy.

Six in 10 Americans, 59%, say the federal government isn't doing enough to restore electricity, food and water.

On the flip side, six in 10 Americans -- with majorities in both parties -- say Texans are getting the help they need in the wake of Hurricane Harvey, which made landfall there August 25.

The disaster due to Maria is expected to prompt more than 50,000 Puerto Ricans to move to Florida before the 2018 midterm elections, according to CNN's Sam Petulla.

President Donald Trump hasn't tweeted about the island since October 19, while other topics grabbed headlines, like the attack in New York City, tax reform efforts in Congress and his trip to Asia.

This Kaiser Family Foundation poll was conducted November 8-13, 2017, among 1,201 adults. The margin of sampling error is ±3 percentage points for the full sample; it is smaller for subgroups.