Contact: Martha Cid 212-481-7000
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
To view the complete survey research report, please visit: http://www.pace.edu/PacePoll
PUBLIC FEARFUL OF LONG-TERM HEALTH EFFECTS FROM 9/11,
PACE POLL FINDS
Downtown residents are skeptical of terror alerts
NEW YORK, NY, October 1, 2004 – Unresolved doubts about the long-term health effects of 9/11 trouble Lower Manhattan residents. Nearly 6 in 10 (59%) believe the events of September 11 created a long-term health risk for themselves and their neighbors, and a majority (52%) is not reassured by government studies addressing the issue, according to the latest survey by The Pace Poll, a center for survey research at Pace University.
This is the third survey in The Pace Poll’s Lower Manhattan Rebuilding Tracking Study, which will be fielded every six months through the remainder of the redevelopment effort.
Public confidence in the environmental cleanup has waned. In August 2003, the Pace Poll found that 61% of downtown residents said the cleanup and monitoring of air quality in Lower Manhattan was going well. In February 2004, less than half (48%) said the cleanup had gone well. Today, only 39% say it went well. “Declining confidence in the environmental cleanup around Ground Zero suggests that, in the public’s mind, many questions are still unanswered,” said Jonathan Trichter, Director of the Pace Poll.
U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA):
In addition, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA’s) preliminary statements on the air quality at Ground Zero, which were later shown to be unsubstantiated,
appear to have affected the Agency’s credibility. Just 26% of residents trust the EPA to tell the truth about air quality in Lower Manhattan “just about always” or “most of the time.” In contrast, a majority (54%) thinks the EPA tells the truth “only some of the time,” while 16% say the EPA “never” tells the truth.
Downtown residents suspect the Administration’s terror warnings are politically calculated. Almost half (46%) of Lower Manhattan residents “strongly believes” and another 17% “somewhat believes” that the Federal government’s color-coded terror warnings are issued for political purposes and not in response to genuine threats.
When asked without prompting to name their top-of-mind concern, the plurality of downtown residents (22%) identifies “affordable housing,” 8% say “business returning;” 7% cite “economic development,” and 5% name “finances.” September 11th-specific concerns, like the WTC site memorial (4%), receive fewer mentions. “The traditional social problems of downtown living are restoring the pre-9/11 issue landscape, as resilient residents move on with their day-to-day lives,” said Trichter.
Downtown residents dislike the proposal to bury part of West Street in order to eliminate the highway that isolates Battery Park City from the rest of Manhattan – 36% support the plan against 54% who oppose it. The development of the Far West Side is also unpopular among Lower Manhattan residents (35% support it, 60% oppose it).
As for the proposed rail link connecting downtown Manhattan to Long Island and Kennedy Airport, two-thirds (66%) of Lower Manhattan residents support the project in general while 24% oppose it. Yet, for residents who assess the project after learning that “President Bush recently supported Governor Pataki’s request to use two billion dollars of tax incentives for businesses to build [the] direct rail link connecting Lower Manhattan to Kennedy Airport and Long Island,” 50% oppose the project while 45% support it.
* * * *
The Pace Poll is an independent initiative backed by the resources of Pace University, a leader in a range of academic and professional programs. The Pace Poll conducted the survey in conjunction with the University’s Center for Downtown New York (CDNY). By routinely measuring regional and national public opinion on both long-standing and timely topics of civic life, The Pace Poll helps public opinion play a more visible role in the open discussion of current affairs. Jonathan Trichter, the Director of the Pace Poll, is in charge of its survey research, management and analysis.
The results are based on telephone interviews conducted between August 12 and August 31, 2004, among 539 Lower Manhattan residents (living below 14th Street) 18 years of age or older. The sample consisted of phone numbers selected via random digit dial from among exchanges that ensured regions were represented in proportion to their population. The results of the tracking survey are statistically significant within a ± 4% margin of error at a 95% level of confidence. Error margins increase for cross-tabulations and split sample questions.