Gallup: Depression up 25% in areas hit hardest by Hurricane Sandy

A Senior Consultant from Gallup (the polling company who often is quoted in certain political media stories) emailed Hoboken411, and thought you’d be interested in a poll they administered after Hurricane Sandy.

They incredibly cited a 25% uptick in depression. See chart below.

Their criteria was as such:

These findings are based on daily interviews conducted as part of the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index from Sept. 15-Dec. 15.

For this analysis, Gallup included a total of 6,414 interviews with residents of New Jersey, New York, and Connecticut. Gallup further broke out these interviews into two groups — ZIP codes hardest hit by Sandy — those receiving individual assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency — and the remaining ZIP codes in those three states. Gallup’s analysis includes:

  • For areas hardest hit: 1,713 interviews occurred before the storm (Sept. 15-Oct. 28) and another 1,690 after the storm (Nov. 1-Dec. 15).
  • For the remaining areas that were not hit as hard: 1,433 interviews before the storm and 1,578 after the storm.

During the same period, Sept. 15-Dec. 15, Gallup also conducted 71,265 interviews in the remaining 47 states.

The depression question is posed as a diagnosis occurring at any point in the respondent’s life, and the results do not necessarily imply that the storm itself created new depression cases. Still, the notable increase depression in the areas most impacted by Sandy occurred at a time when there was no statistically significant change throughout the remainder of the country.

I asked Gallup if they took other “small sample” polls for previous periods going back 6, 12, even 24 months – or even multiple years – to see what the long-term trend line was, and they didn’t feel it was necessary to shed light on it. I suppose some politicians or doctors will jump on “polls” like these to further their agenda in some financially beneficially way (administer more drugs, pass new laws re-directing wealth, etc.)

Do you believe polls to be an accurate indicator of public sentiment, or just carefully managed ways to influence public opinion?