So there’s this article about a poll in which the pollsters announce what it is that Americans believe regarding New Orleans. It’s significant in that some of the finger-pointing that is going on is reflected in the poll, and will certainly be reflected in any upcoming elections.
The result they lead with, however, is that “most Americans believe New Orleans will never recover.”
Why does that matter? Most doctors didn’t believe Lance Armstrong would ever recover. Most of my friends didn’t believe I’d be full-time cartooning for more than six months. I’m sure we could come up with example after example of the “majority” believing that a small minority or an individual will not be able to accomplish the tasks which are set before him or her, and then that minority or individual pulling it off.
It’s almost like the pollsters and/or those reporting the results are trying to kill the city of New Orleans with bad vibes. I can see the value in telling us what the people think of the President, or the Governor, or the Mayor because at some point those elected officials may want to get RE-elected. But polling people who don’t live in New Orleans about rebuilding the city can only hinder the effort to rebuild it. After all, if most Americans think the city will never recover, then wouldn’t most Americans object to seeing tax dollars spent on the effort (note: THAT is not a question that was asked).
Then at the end the pollsters state their margin of error:
For poll results based on the total sample, one can say with 95 percent
confidence that the margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage
points. For results based on the 268 respondents who say the city of
New Orleans will completely recover from the effects of Katrina, the
maximum margin of sampling error is plus or minus 6 percentage points.
Did you catch that? The overall margin for error is 4 percent, but it’s SIX percent for the minority who actually think the city will recover completely. It’s not good enough that a majority thinks it won’t, now the pollsters have to cast statistical aspersions on the people who think it will.
Me, I know the city can never be exactly like it was before. Every city changes: knock one building down, close one family-owned deli, put in a traffic signal, and the city will “never be the same.” I believe that New Orleans will see an economic boom, and will emerge from this as a thriving port metropolis with a rich culture and rich history, of which this hurricane is only a part. Chris Muir said it pretty well: Can they rebuild? “They’ll make it look… well, the city IS called The Big Easy.”