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Washington Post Poll: Government and Politics

February 23, 2002

The latest Washington Post poll is based on telephone interviews with 756 randomly selected adults nationwide and was conducted Feb. 19 - 21. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 4 percentage points. Sampling error is only one of many potential sources of error in this or any other public opinion poll. Interviewing was conducted by TNS Intersearch of Horsham, Pa.

*= less than 0.5 percent

1. Do you think things in this country are generally going in the right direction or do you feel things have gotten pretty seriously off on the wrong track?

                Right      Wrong     No
              Direction    Track    opin. 
2/21/02          54         42        4
2/14/99          55         41        4
11/1/98          55         43        2
11/1/98 LV       55         44        1
8/21/98          57         40        4
7/12/98          50         45        6
4/4/98           55         41        4
1/31/98          61         34        5
1/30/98          61         34        5
1/19/98          44         50        6
8/27/97          39         57        4
6/8/97           37         60        3
3/9/97           34         62        4
10/17/96 RV      40         55        5
10/16/96 RV      42         53        5
10/15/96 RV      43         52        5
10/14/96 RV      44         51        5
10/13/96 RV      44         51        5
9/04/96  RV      40         54        6
8/21/96          28         67        5
6/30/96          26         70        5
3/17/96          27         7         3
1/21/96          27         66        6
1/3/96           21         77        3
4/5/95           23         73        3
1/4/95           27         68        6
10/31/94         27         69        4
7/20/94          26         70        4
3/27/94          28         69        3
1/23/94          31         60       10
11/14/93         25         69        6
8/8/93           26         71        3
6/20/93          26         71        3
4/26/93          27         71        2
3/11/93          36         57        7
2/28/93          37         59        4
1/17/93          31         63        6
12/14/92         35         60        5
10/27/92 RV      22         76        2
10/4/92  RV      18         78        4
6/7/92           14         83        3
4/9/92           16         81        3
3/11/92          18         79        4
1/15/92          19         78        3
11/10/91         24         72        4
10/29/91         26         71        3
8/27/91          31         60        9
7/28/91          30         67        3
6/2/91           39         57        4
4/9/91           42         51        7
2/26/91          58         39        3
1/27/91          49         48        4
10/14/90         19         79        2
9/9/90           36         60        4
8/20/90          35         60        5
7/24/90          37         60        2
5/21/90          39         60        2
3/26/90          44         53        2
2/4/90           49         48        3
1/16/90          48         49        3
5/23/89          42         55        3
3/16/89          46         52        2
1/16/89  LV      51         46        3
10/25/88 RV      49         46        6
9/27/88          48         44        8
7/11/88          40         56        4
5/25/88          35         59        6
3/21/88          40         56        4
1/23/88          39         59        2
12/13/87         49         47        4
12/2/87          35         61        4
9/23/87          43         54        4
6/29/87          35         62        3
4/13/87          37         60        3
3/9/87           38         58        4
1/18/87          39         56        5
9/8/86           50         48        2
1/26/86          45         47        8
7/29/85          52         43        6
1/16/85          59         36        4
5/22/84          47         48        5
12/13/83         43         51        6
11/7/83          51         44        5
4/12/83          41         54        4
3/2/83           43         53        3
1/25/83          58         39        3
1/25/83          43         52        4
10/11/82         35         57        8
1/30/82          39         56        5
2/80             20         70       10
2/78             34         53       13
2/77             41         44       14
10/75            19         71        9
10/74            15         75       11
10/73            16         74       10

2. I am going to mention four phrases and ask you which one best describes how you feel about the way the federal government works. Do you feel enthusiastic, satisfied but not enthusiastic, dissatisfied but not angry, or angry?

            ------Positive--------     ------Negative------
            Pos.  Enthusi-  Satis-     Neg.  Dissat-         None/  No
            Net   astic     fied       Net   isfied   Angry  Other opin.
2/21/02      56      7        49       43      36       7     NA    1
12/15/00     59      4        55       39      34       6     NA    1
2/14/99      52      3        48       47      35      12     NA    1
9/28/98      50      4        46       49      36      12     NA    1
9/28/98LV    48      4        44       50      37      14     NA    1
1/19/98      46      2        43       53      45       8     1     *
8/27/97      34      2        33       64      52      11     2     1
3/17/96      29      2        27       70      54      16     NA    *
1/4/95       29      2        27       69      53      16     *     1
11/6/94 Reg. 28      2        26       70      49      21     1     1
10/31/94     26      1        25       73      55      18     1     1
10/23/94     28      1        26       71      52      20     *     *
10/9/94      25      2        24       72      53      19     2     *
9/11/94      26      2        25       73      53      20     NA    *
3/27/94      30      1        29       68      48      20     1     1
2/28/93      33      4        29       66      50      16     *     *
7/8/92       23      1        22       76      53      23     *     1
6/7/92       21      1        20       79      58      21     *     1
4/9/92       21      1        20       79      55      24     1     *
3/18/92      22      1        21       77      54      23     1     *
3/11/92      18      1        17       80      60      20     1     1

3. Do you feel Bush and the Democratic leaders in Congress are making good progress on solving the nation's problems or not?

                  Yes,              No, not            No
            making progress     making progress     opinion
2/21/02           55                  42                3
2/4/90            43                  55                2
4/3/89            44                  51                4

4. Do you approve or disapprove of the way the U.S. Congress is doing its job?

            Approve     Disapprove     No opinion
2/21/02       57           39              4
1/27/02       58           35              7
12/19/01      59           34              7
9/9/01        45           48              7
7/30/01       48           48              4
4/22/01       58           33              8
10/31/99      42           53              6
9/2/99        46           47              7
6/6/99        48           46              6
3/14/99       44           49              7
2/14/99       46           50              4    
12/20/98      44           51              5    
12/19/98      45           50              5    
12/13/98      49           46              5    
11/7/98       41           55              4    
11/1/98       49           47              5    
11/1/98 LV    47           51              2    
10/25/98      45           44             11    
10/25/98 LV   45           48              7    
10/18/98      46           45              8    
10/18/98 LV   45           49              5    
9/28/98       52           44              4    
9/28/98 LV    52           46              2 
8/21/98       55           39              6          
7/12/98       46           44             11          
5/12/98       45           45              9          
4/4/98        47           45              8          
1/31/98       55           35             10          
1/30/98       55           35             10          
1/25/98       56           37              8          
1/24/98       55           38              7          
1/19/98       47           49              5          
10/13/97      36           57              7          
8/27/97       39           54              7          
7/8/97        40           53              6          
4/24/97       40           53              7          
3/9/97        35           60              5          
8/5/96        42           52              7          
6/30/96       35           58              7          
5/22/96       35           60              5          
3/10/96       30           64              6          
1/7/96        31           65              5          
11/19/95      27           68              5          
10/1/95       32           65              3 
7/17/95       34           63              3         
3/19/95       39           56              5         
1/29/95       42           52              6         
10/31/94      21           72              8         
10/23/94      18           78              4         
9/11/94       24           70              5         
6/26/94       34           61              5         
3/27/94       35           62              3         
2/27/94       32           64              4         
1/23/94       29           60             11         
11/14/93      28           66              6         
8/8/93        33           64              3         
4/26/93       30           69              2         
1/17/93       29           66              6         
4/9/92        17           78              5         
3/18/92       19           76              5         
3/8/92        22           73              6         
2/2/92        32           64              4         
12/15/91      35           59              6         
10/21/91      45           50              5         
6/2/91        49           46              5 
10/14/90      34           63              3                  
2/4/90        41           55              4                  
1/16/90       39           55              6                  
8/21/89       42           53              5                  
5/23/89       54           44              2                  
2/14/89       53           44              3                  
1/23/88*      43           53              4                  
6/1/87*       56           40              4                  
6/22/85*      54           37              9                  
5/83*         33           43             24                  
6/81*         38           40             22                  
6/79*         19           61             20                  
9/78*         29           49             22                  
6/77*         34           42             24                  
6/75*         29           54             17                  
8/74*         48           35             17                  
*Gallup

5. Do you approve or disapprove of the way your own representative to the U.S. House of Representatives is handling his or her job?

               Approve        Disapprove          No opinion
2/21/02           66              24                   10
10/31/99          65              26                    9
2/14/99           70              21                    9
11/1/98           72              20                    8
11/1/98LV         73              23                    5
10/18/98          68              20                   11
10/18/98LV        67              25                    9
9/28/98           70              21                   10
9/28/98LV         71              23                    6
7/12/98           70              18                   12
1/19/98           74              19                    7
4/5/95            65              25                    9
10/31/94          51              38                   11
10/23/94          49              43                    8
9/11/94           53              35                   12
6/26/94           59              31                   10
3/27/94           62              26                   12
1/17/93           60              29                   11
4/9/92            47              39                   13
3/18/92           49              40                   11
2/2/92            56              32                   12
12/15/91          60              28                   12
10/21/91          64              27                    9
6/2/91            61              26                   14
10/14/90          64              29                    7
5/23/89           71              18                   11

6. On another subject, would you describe the state of the nation's economy these days as excellent, good, not so good, or poor?

               ----Excellent/Good-----    -----Not so good/Poor-----    No  
               NET   Excellent    Good    NET    Not so good   Poor     op.
2/21/02        30        1        29      69        51          18       *
1/27/02        31        1        29      69        50          19       *
9/20/01        38        3        35      60        47          14       2
9/9/01         33        1        32      66        47          19       *
7/30/01        50        3        46      50        39          12       *
4/22/01        50        3        47      50        40           9       *
1/15/01        70       10        59      29        24           6       1 
10/27/00 LV    86       24        61      14        11           3       * 
10/26/00 LV    86       24        61      14        11           3       * 
6/11/00        74       17        57      26        19           6       *  
2/27/00        80       25        55      20        14           5       *  
10/31/99       74       18        56      26        18           7       1  
9/2/99         76       19        57      23        16           6       1  
3/14/99        80       22        58      19        15           4       1  
11/1/98        73       12        61      26        21           5       1  
11/1/98  LV    78       13        65      22        19           3       *  
10/13/97       61       12        49      39        27          11       *
Call for full trend.

***IF Q6=EXCELLENT/GOOD, INSERT "CREDIT". IF Q6=NOT SO GOOD/POOR, INSERT "BLAME"***
7. How much CREDIT do you think each of the following should get for the state of the nation's economy?

Would you say (INSERT ITEM) deserves a great deal of CREDIT, a fair amount, a little, or none?

2/21/02
Summary Table:

                          ******Great/Fair******     *****Little/None******      No 
                          NET     Great     Fair     NET     Little    None     opin

a. President Bush         78        30       48      22        16        6        0

b. The Republicans        71        13       58      28        26        2        1
   in Congress           

c. The Democrats          62        12       49      38        28       10        1
   in Congress

d. Normal changes in      84        26       59      14        11        3        2
   the business cycle

e. The events of          82        45       37      16        12        4        1
   September 11

f. Former President       47        16       31      52        28       24        *
   Clinton

***IF Q6=EXCELLENT/GOOD, INSERT "CREDIT". IF Q6=NOT SO GOOD/POOR, INSERT "BLAME"***
7. How much BLAME do you think each of the following should get for the state of the nation's economy?

Would you say (INSERT ITEM) deserves a great deal of BLAME, a fair amount, a little, or none?

2/21/02
Summary Table:

                          ******Great/Fair******     *****Little/None******      No 
                          NET     Great     Fair     NET     Little    None     opin

a. President Bush         47        15       32      53        30       23        *

b. The Republicans        62        19       43      35        26        8        3
   in Congress           

c. The Democrats          58        13       45      38        28       11        3
   in Congress

d. Normal changes in      68        22       45      29        25        4        3
   the business cycle

e. The events of          69        38       31      30        20       10        1
   September 11

f. Former President       49        24       25      50        26       24        1
   Clinton

8. Right now, are you inclined to vote to re-elect your representative in Congress in the next election or are you inclined to look around for someone else to vote for?

                 Re-elect      Look around    Depends (vol.)   No opin.
2/21/02             40             48              7               6
10/31/99            41             47              8               3
9/28/98             44             46             NA              10
9/28/98  LV         52             42             NA               6
7/12/98             42             44              5              10
1/19/98             47             41              7               4
8/27/97             34             52              9               5
11/6/94  RV         37             47              7               8
10/31/94            35             56              2               7
10/23/94            32             58              4               6
9/11/94             36             53              4               7
6/26/94             35             54              6               5
3/27/94             32             56              6               7
1/23/94             32             46             10              12
11/14/93            38             52              5               5
7/8/92              34             54              3               9
6/7/92              36             53              4               7
4/9/92              33             56              3               8
3/11/92             36             54              3               7
2/2/92              38             51              4               7
10/21/91            31             55              7               6
6/2/91              37             49              5               9
11/4/90  LV         41             50             NA               8
10/14/90            36             57             NA               7
5/21/90             43             50              3               3
5/23/89             45             44              4               6

9. I'd like you to rate the chances that you will vote in the next election for Congress - are you absolutely certain to vote, will you probably vote, or are the chances 50-50 or less that you will vote?

                Absolutely      Probably    Chances 50-50     No                   
              certain to vote     Vote         Or less      opinion                
2/21/02             61             19            20            *                   
2/14/99             64             17            19            1                   
11/1/98             57             14            28            *                   
11/1/98 LV         100              0             0            0                   
10/25/98            57             15            27            1                   
10/25/98 LV        100              0             0            0                   
10/18/98            55             19            25            1                   
10/18/98 LV        100              0             0            0                   
9/28/98             63             18            18            1                   
9/29/98 LV         100              0             0            0                   
07/12/98            61             20            19            *                   
1/19/98             63             17            20            *

10. Just your best guess: Do you think the candidates for Congress this year will spend more time, less time or about the same amount of time than in past elections:

                                          More     Less     Same     No opin.

a. Talking about the important issues      35       12       52          1 

b. Engaging in negative campaigning        26       20       53          2  
   and attacking their opponents

11. Based on what you know or have heard, is the following statement true, false, or aren't you sure?

Congress passed an education reform bill this year and President Bush has signed it into law.

            True     False     Don't know 
2/21/02      44        16         40

12. Can you tell me the name of the current Secretary of Defense? (open-ended question)

             Rumsfeld    Powell	Ashcroft	Others     Don't Know
2/21/02        34          18        2		   3	         43

13. How closely have you been following news about (INSERT ITEM). Would you say you have been following very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely, or not closely at all? How about news about (NEXT ITEM) . . .

                               --------Closely--------   ------Not Closely-------    No
                               NET    Very    Somewhat   NET    Not too    At all    op.

a. The war in Afghanistan      82       35        46      18       13         5       *

b. Possible new terrorist      78       36        42      21       14         8       *
   threats against the 
   United States

c. The collapse of Enron,      64       23        41      35       20        15       1 
   the Texas energy company  

d. The Olympics                57       22        35      43       22        20       *

e. Debates in Washington       38       11        27      61       29        32       1
   about an economic 
   stimulus package

f. The upcoming Congressional  35        9        26      65       34        31       *
   elections in your state

g. Debates in Washington       37        9        28      63       32        30       *
   about campaign finance 
   reform

14. Would you say the events of September 11 have made you more interested in politics and political news, or less interested in politics and political news, or haven't they made a difference?

            More     Less     No diff.     No opin. 
2/21/02      46        4         50            1

(ASKED IF "MORE INTERESTED" AT Q14)
15. Is that more interested in news about the war on terrorism specifically, or more interested in all kinds of political news?

            News on     All      Both       No 
              war       news    (vol.)     opin.
2/21/02        39        57        4         *
14/15 NET. 
            -------------MORE------------
            NET   War   All   Both  No op.     Less     No diff.     No opin. 
2/21/02     46    18    26     2      *          4        50            1

16. Please tell me if you agree or disagree with the following statement: Somehow after September 11, partisan politics doesn't seem as important as it used to.

            Agree     Disagree     No opin. 
2/21/02       56         40            3

17. Would you favor or oppose having U.S. forces take military action against Iraq to force Saddam Hussein from power?

            ----------Favor----------   ----------Oppose----------    No 
            NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
2/21/02     67       46        21        30      12         18         4
1/27/02     71       NA        NA        24      NA         NA         4
12/19/01    72       NA        NA        24      NA         NA         5
11/27/01    78       NA        NA        17      NA         NA         6
10/11/94*   72       NA        NA        23      NA         NA         5
1/15/93**   82       NA        NA        15      NA         NA         3 
8/21/92 RV  65       NA        NA        30      NA         NA         5 
2/9/92      62       NA        NA        35      NA         NA         3
4/22/91     51       NA        NA        43      NA         NA         6
4/5/91      54       NA        NA        37      NA         NA         9
3/15/91     57       NA        NA        38      NA         NA         5

*10/11/94 and previous: Gallup
**1/15/93 and previous: Would you support or oppose having U.S. forces resume military action . . .?

18/19. Now I have a question about Enron, the big energy company that went bankrupt late last year, and whose executives have been testifying before Congress recently.

Who do you think bears more responsibility for the Enron situation: (the Democrats), (the Republicans), both parties, or neither party? (IF Democrats/Republicans/ Both/ Neither) Do you feel that way strongly, or not so strongly?

         ------DEM-----   ------REP-----   -----BOTH----   ----NEITHER----     No
         NET  Str.  Not   NET  Str.  Not   NET  Str. Not   NET   Str.  Not    opin.
2/21/02  3     2     1    12    8     3    32    22   10   44     29    15      9

© Copyright 2002 The Washington Post Company


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