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Post-ABC Poll: War on Terror/Middle East/Catholic Church

Monday, April 23, 2002

The latest Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on telephone interviews with 1,207 randomly selected adults nationwide and was conducted April 18 - 21, 2002. The margin of sampling error for overall results is plus or minus 3 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 approve or disapprove of the way George W. Bush is handling his job as president? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

            ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove-------     No 
            NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    opin.
4/21/02     78       47         31      20       10          9         2
3/28/02     79       49         30      18       10          8         3
3/10/02     82       52         30      16        7          9         2
1/27/02     83       56         27      14        7          7         3
12/19/01    86       64         22      12        6          6         2
11/27/01    89       69         21       9        5          4         1
11/6/01     89       65         24       9        4          5         2
10/9/01     92       76         16       6        3          3         1
9/27/01     90       70         20       6        3          3         4
9/13/01     86       63         23      12        6          5         2
9/9/01      55       26         29      41       22         20         3
8/12/01     61       28         33      31       17         14         8
7/30/01     59       28         30      38       22         17         3
6/3/01      55       27         28      40       22         18         6
4/22/01     63       33         30      32       16         16         5
3/25/01     58       NA         NA      33       NA         NA         8
2/25/01     55       NA         NA      23       NA         NA        22

2. Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bush is handling . . . ?

4/21/02

Summary Table:

                   ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove--------   No 
                   NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    op.
a. The economy     64       NA         NA      33       NA         NA       3
b. International
   affairs         71       NA         NA      25       NA         NA       4
c. The U.S.
   campaign
   against
   terrorism       81       56         25      18       10          7       2
d. The situation
   between Israel
   and the
   Palestinians    57       NA         NA      35       NA         NA       8

Trend:

a. The economy

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
4/21/02     64          33             3
1/27/02     62          34             4
12/19/01    67          27             6       
11/6/01     72          23             5       
9/9/01      48          48             4       
7/30/01     52          45             3
6/3/01      53          41             6
4/22/01     55          38             7
3/25/01     50          42             8

b. International affairs

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
4/21/02     71          25             4
6/3/01      58          33             9
4/22/01     62          31             7
3/25/01     56          31            13

c. The U.S. campaign against terrorism

           ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove--------   No 
           NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    op.
4/21/02     81      56         25      18       10          7        2
3/10/02     88      64         24      10        5          5        2
1/27/02     88      NA         NA      10       NA         NA        2
12/19/01    89      67         22       9        5          4        2
10/15/01    92      75         17       5        3          3        3

d. The situation between Israel and the Palestinians

          Approve   Disapprove   No opinion
4/21/02     57          35             8

Compare to:

Do you approve or disapprove of the way Bill Clinton is handling the situation between Israel and the Palestinians?

             Approve     Disapprove     No opinion 
10/8/96 LV     57             31             12 
10/8/96 RV     57             30             12

3. Do you think the U.S. campaign against terrorism is going very well, fairly well, not too well or not well at all?

           ----------Well----------     --------Not well--------      No
           NET      Very     Fairly     NET     Not too   At all     opin. 
4/21/02    73        11        63       26        17        9          1
3/10/02    84        21        63       15        10        6          1
1/27/02    88        32        56       11         8        4          1

4. Do you think (the United States has to capture or kill Osama bin Laden for the war on terrorism to be a success), or do you think (the war on terrorism can be a success without Osama bin Laden being killed or captured)?

             US must capture/      War can succeed       No 
              kill bin Laden      without bin Laden     opin. 
4/21/02             50                    45              5 
3/10/02             44                    53              4 
1/27/02             46                    51              3 
12/19/01            64                    34              2 
11/6/01             64                    30              6

5. In its anti-terrorism campaign, do you think the United States IS or IS NOT doing enough to win the support of Muslim people around the world?

            Yes     No     No opin. 
4/21/02      49     43         9
3/10/02      54     39         8
10/7/01      69     18        13

6. How concerned are you about the possibility there will be more major terrorist attacks in the United States - is that something that worries you a great deal, somewhat, not too much or not at all?

            ---------Concerned---------    -------Not concerned----    No      
            NET    Grt.deal    Somewhat    NET    Not much     None    op.    
4/21/02     73        30          43       26        18          9      *
3/10/02     70        23          47       30        21          9      1
12/19/01    70        27          43       29        22          8      1
10/15/01    77        35          43       23        14          9      0
10/9/01     82        36          46       18        12          6      *
10/7/01     81        41          40       18        13          4      1
9/27/01*    83        43          39       17        12          5      *
9/11/01     87        49          38       12         7          4      1
6/13/97     62        21          41       38        24         14      *
6/2/97      63        22          41       37        28          9      *
8/5/96      74        31          43       26        18          8      *
4/20/95     78        38          40       21        16          5      1

*9/27/01 and previous: "How concerned are you about the possibility there will be more major terrorist attacks in this country."

7. In the Middle East, are your sympathies more with (Israel) or more with (the Palestinian Authority)?

                      Palestinian     Both      Neither      No                
            Israel     Authority     (vol.)     (vol.)      opin.              
4/21/02       49          14            7         21          9      
4/7/02        41           9            8         26         16      
10/9/01       52          14            7         15         11 

Compare to:

On another subject, in the Middle East situation, are your sympathies more with Israel or more with the Arab nations?

                        Arab      Neither      No                              
            Israel     nations    (vol.)      opin.                            
9/15/91       57         20         14         10                              
4/3/89        69         16         10          4                              
6/23/86       62         13         13         13                              
7/1/85        49         11         18         22                              
9/26/83       49         13         14         24                              
3/2/83        52         16         13         19                              
1/22/83       47         17         15         21                              
9/26/82       48         27         12         13
8/17/82       52         18         16         13          
3/8/82        55         18         13         14 

8. Regardless of your overall feelings toward (Israel) and (the Palestinians), who do you think is more to blame for the recent violence - (Israel) or (the Palestinians)? Do you feel that way strongly or somewhat?

          ---------Israel--------  ------Palestinians-----  Both equal   No 
          NET   Strgly   Somewhat  NET   Strgly   Somewhat    (vol.)    Opin.
4/21/02   20       7        12     50      28        22         18       12
4/7/02    12      NA        NA     41      NA        NA         24       23
10/14/90  30      NA        NA     47      NA        NA          8       15    
4/3/89*   28      NA        NA     51      NA        NA         11       10 

*" . . . for the recent violence on the West Bank."

9. In trying to arrange a peace settlement between Israel and the Palestinians, do you think the United States is doing too much, too little or about the right amount?

          Too much   Too little   Right amount      No Opinion
4/21/02      12         25            60                  3

10. Do you think America's vital interests are at stake in the situation involving Israel and the Palestinian Authority, or not?

             Yes    No    No Opinion
4/21/02      61     35         5 

12. Do you think the United States should increase its support for Israel, decrease its support for Israel or keep it about the same?

            Increase     Decrease     Keep the same     No opinion
4/21/02        16          21             60               4
10/9/01        13          13             68               6

13. Do you think the United States should or should not recognize Palestine as an independent nation?

            Should     Should not     No opin.
4/21/02       68          21            11
10/9/01       55          28            17

14. How closely are you following the situation between Israel and the Palestinians - very closely, somewhat closely, not too closely or not closely at all?

           ---------Closely--------   --------Not closely--------
                  Very     Somewhat         Not too   Not closely    No 
           NET   closely   closely    NET   closely      at all     Opin.
4/21/02    76      28        48       24       18           6         *

15. As you may know, Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the Middle East in the past week. Do you think his visit did or did not improve the prospects for peace there?

           -----------Improved----------    Did not     No 
           NET    Great deal    Somewhat    improve    Opin.
4/21/02    41          8           33         51         8

16. (IF DID NOT IMPROVE) Whose fault is that, mainly - (the Israelis'), (the Palestinians') or (Powell's)?

                                               Israelis 
                                                 and 
                                             Palestinians    No
          Israelis   Palestinians   Powell      (vol.)      Opin. 
4/21/02      15           31          11          30         13 

15/16. As you may know, Secretary of State Colin Powell visited the Middle East in the past week. Do you think his visit did or did not improve the prospects for peace there? (IF DID NOT IMPROVE) Whose fault is that, mainly - (the Israelis'), (the Palestinians') or (Powell's)?

         -------Improved-----  -----------Fault for not improving---------- 
                                                                Israel 
                                 Not                             and 
              Great            Improve                          Palest. No  No
         NET   deal  Somewhat    NET    Israel  Palest.  Powell (vol.)  Op. Op. 
4/21/02  41      8      33       51        7      15        6     15     7   8

17. Do you think the United States should take the leading role in trying to arrange a peace settlement between the Israelis and the Palestinians, or should the U.S. mainly leave that to the Israelis and the Palestinians themselves?

         Leading    Leave it     No 
          role      to them     Opin.
4/21/02    42         54          4 

18. Do you think the United States has applied enough pressure on Israel to reach a peace agreement with the Palestinians, or should the U.S. apply more pressure on Israel?

          Applied   Apply   Too much    No 
          enough    more     (vol.)    Opin.
4/21/02     46       43         4        7

19. Do you think Israel should or should not negotiate directly with Yasser Arafat, leader of the Palestinian Authority?

          Should   Should not   No Opinion
4/21/02     66         28            6 

20. After a series of suicide bombings by Palestinians in Israel, Israel sent its army into Palestinian areas three weeks ago. Do you think this action by Israel was justified or unjustified?

          Justified   Unjustified   No Opinion
4/21/02      66          29             5 

21. The United States has called on Israel to withdraw its forces from these Palestinian areas. If Israel does not withdraw entirely from these Palestinian areas, do you think the United States should penalize it by reducing U.S. economic aid to Israel, or not?

          Should   Should not   No Opinion
4/21/02*    47         45            7 

*Asked of half sample

22. The United States has called on Israel to withdraw its forces from these Palestinian areas. If Israel does not withdraw entirely from these Palestinian areas, do you think the United States should penalize it by reducing U.S. military aid to Israel, or not?

           Should   Should not   No Opinion
4/21/02*     47         48            5 

*Asked of half sample

23. Do you think Israel has done all it reasonably can do to try to avoid civilian casualties in the Palestinian areas, or do you think it should have done more?

          Done all   Should have    No 
           it can     done more    Opin.
4/21/02      30          61          9

Compare to:

Do you think the United States is doing all it reasonably can do to try to avoid civilian casualties in Afghanistan, or do you think it should do more?

              US doing      US should      No
             all it can      do more      opin.
10/15/01         85            12           2

24. Do you think Yasser Arafat is or is not responsible for terrorist attacks against Israel by Palestinians?

          Responsible    Not responsible    No Opinion
4/21/02       76               15                9

25. Do you think Arafat has done all he reasonably can do to end terrorist attacks against Israel by Palestinians, or do you think he can do more?

          Done all   Can do    No 
           he can     more    Opin.
4/21/02       7        90       4 

26. Would you support or oppose providing a significant amount of U.S. economic aid to the Palestinian Authority, in exchange for a Palestinian peace agreement with Israel?

          Support    Oppose    No Opinion
4/21/02     47         47           6

27. What do you think is Israel's ultimate goal - to take permanent control of the Palestinian areas known as the West Bank and Gaza Strip, or to return these areas to the Palestinian Authority in exchange for guarantees of peace?

          Permanent   Return    No 
           control    areas    Opin.
4/21/02      43         45      11

28. What do you think is the Palestinian Authority's ultimate goal - to destroy the state of Israel, or to establish an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel in the West Bank and Gaza Strip?

          Destroy   Establish    No 
           Israel     state     Opin.
4/21/02      43        48         9

29. Do you think U.S. support for Israel is hurting U.S. efforts in the war on terrorism, or not?

          ------Hurting efforts------     Not      No 
          NET   Great deal   Somewhat   hurting   Opin.
4/21/02   54        21          32        40        6 

30. On another subject, do you approve or disapprove of the way the Catholic Church has handled the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests? Do you approve/disapprove strongly or somewhat?

              ---------Approve---------   --------Disapprove-------    No 
              NET   Strongly   Somewhat   NET   Strongly   Somewhat    op.
4/21/02 All   18        8         10      74       57         16        9
        Cath. 23        9         14      71       53         18        6
3/28/02 All   19        5         14      67       49         18       14
        Cath. 28       12         16      66       45         21        6

31. Do you think the church can or cannot be trusted to handle this issue properly in the future?

              Can be    Cannot be     No 
              trusted    trusted     Opin.
4/21/02 All     40         52          8 
        Cath.   59         36          5

32. (and 33) For each item I name, please tell me if that's something you think the church should or should not do. First is.. (IF SHOULD DO) Should the church be required by law to do that, or should it be up to the church to decide?

4/21/02

Summary Table:

                                ---------Should do---------   Should not   No
                                NET   Law   Church   No op.      do        op.
a. Establish a single, standard
   procedure on handling sex
   abuse charges at every
   diocese in the country 
            All                 89    NA      NA      NA          7         4
            Cath.               90    NA      NA      NA          7         3
b. Report to the police any
   accusation of sexual abuse
   of children by a priest 
            All                 95    81      14       1          4         1
            Cath.               93    75      16       1          6         1 
c. Tell parishioners of any
   accusation of sexual abuse
   of children by a priest in
   their parish 
            All                 79    57      21       *         18         4
            Cath.               76    51      25       *         21         3
d. Suspend any priest accused
   of sexual abuse of children
   while the charge is
   investigated 
            All                 88    58      29       1         11         2
            Cath.               84    48      36       1         13         3
e. Remove from the priesthood
   any priest found to have
   sexually abused a child 
            All                 96    68      26       1          3         1
            Cath.               94    65      28       2          4         2

Trend where available:

a. No trend

b. Report to the police any accusation of sexual abuse of children by a priest

                 -----------Should do-----------   Should not      No
                 NET     Law     Church   No op.       do          op.
4/21/02 All      95       81       14        1          4           1
        Cath.    93       75       16        1          6           1

Compare to:

If a priest is accused of sexually abusing a child, do you think church officials should or should not report that information to the police? (IF SHOULD REPORT) Should the church be required by law to do that, or should it be up to the church to decide?

                  ---------Should report---------     Should not      No
                  NET     Law     Church   No op.       report        op.
3/28/02 All       97       81       15        1            2           1 
        Cath.     97       78       17        2            2           1  
2/20/02 All       97       80       15        2            2           1 
        Cath.     95       75       18        3            3           1

c. Tell parishioners of any accusation of sexual abuse of children by a priest in their parish

                 -----------Should do-----------   Should not      No
                 NET     Law     Church   No op.       do          op.
4/21/02 All      79       57       21        *         18           4
        Cath.    76       51       25        *         21           3

Compare to:

If a parish priest is accused of sexually abusing a child, do you think church officials should or should not inform his parishioners of the charge? (IF SHOULD INFORM) Should the church be required by law to do that, or should it be up to the church to decide?

                ---------Should inform---------     Should not       No
                NET     Law     Church   No op.       inform        opin.
2/20/02 All     89       62       26        1            8            3 
        Cath.   85       58       26        1           12            3

d,e. No trend

34. As you may know, Cardinal Bernard Law in Boston has been accused of mishandling this issue by transferring priests accused of sexual abuse of children from parish to parish. Do you think Law should or should not resign as cardinal?

              Should resign    Should not resign    No Opinion
4/21/02 All        80                15                   5    
        Cath.      73                22                   6 

35. American cardinals will be meeting with church officials at the Vatican to discuss how the church handles the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests. Do you think this meeting will or will not produce meaningful improvements in the way the church handles the issue?

               Will produce   Will not produce   No Opinion
4/21/02 All        64               30                  6    
        Cath.      71               24                  5  

36. Just your best guess - do you think there are similar problems in other countries with the way church leaders have handled the issue of sexual abuse of children by priests, or not?

              Yes     No     No opin. 
4/21/02 All    85      7         7
        Cath.  83      9         9

© Copyright 2002 The Washington Post Company


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