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Poll: U.S. disaster plan no better since Katrina

WASHINGTON - Most people think the United States is not better prepared for handling natural disasters than it was when Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast five years ago, according to a poll released yesterday.

Almost six in 10, or 57 percent, say the country has not improved its disaster preparations, according to the survey by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center. Roughly equal numbers of Democrats, Republicans and independents share that view. Just 38 percent said the country is more ready than it was.

The poll also found that nearly 7 in 10, or 69 percent, believe progress has been made rebuilding New Orleans and the Gulf Coast.

People in the South - which includes Gulf of Mexico states - feel most strongly about it, with 75 percent saying progress has been made. In other regions a combined 66 percent see progress.

Democrats were less convinced than Republicans and independents, with 63 percent of them saying reconstruction has moved ahead.

Pew conducted the poll Aug. 19-22. The margin of sampling error was plus or minus 4 percentage points

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