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Washington Post - ABC News Poll

Monday, December 18, 2000

This Washington Post-ABC News poll is based on telephone interviews with 807 randomly selected adults nationwide, conducted Dec. 14-15. The margin of error for overall results is plus or minus 3.5 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.

1. As you may know, the United States Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected a recount in the presidential election in Florida and said it was too late for a new recount. The ruling means George W. Bush wins the election and the presidency. Al Gore conceded on Wednesday night. Do you approve or disapprove of Gore's decision to concede the presidential race to Bush?


                                   Approve   Disapprove   No opin.
								   
12/15/00:                            72         26          2
  

2. From what you've heard or read about it, do you approve or disapprove of the U.S. Supreme Court's decision rejecting the recount in Florida?


                 Approve    Disapprove    No opinion
				 				 
12/15/00            50          48             2

3. As a result of this ruling, do you have a higher opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a lower opinion, or hasn't your opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court changed?


           Higher    Lower    No Change    No opin.
		   
12/15/00     11       30          57           2           
12/10/00*    15       25          58           3
*As a result of its order stopping the recount, do you have a higher opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court, a lower opinion, or hasn't your opinion of the U.S. Supreme Court changed?

4. Do you think the majority in the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled in Bush's favor did so mainly on the law and evidence in the case, or mainly because it wanted to help Bush become president?


            Mainly on law     Mainly to     No
           and evidence      help Bush    opin.
		   
12/15/00      59                34          7
 

5. What about the minority in the U.S. Supreme Court that ruled in Gore's favor - do you think it did so mainly on the law and evidence in the case, or mainly because it wanted to help Gore become president?


           Mainly on law     Mainly to     No
           and evidence      help Gore    opin.
		   
12/15/00      60                29         11

6. How confident are you that the votes in Florida have been counted accurately - very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not confident at all?


          ------Confident-------     ------Not Confident-----      No
            NET  Very    Somewhat       NET  Not too   Not at all   opin.
12/15/00    42     23       18          57      17         40         1
12/10/00    46     24       22          53      23         30         1
12/3/00     51     26       25          47      16         31         2
11/26/00    56     27       30          39      18         21         5
11/16/00*   50     19       31          46      18         28         4
11/12/00*   59     21       38          38      20         18         3
* "will be"

7. Do you think this situation reveals serious problems in this country's system of electing the president, or do you think it's just the kind of thing that can happen in a very close election?


            Problem in system   Happens in close election   No opinion
			
12/15/00         53                     45                    2
12/10/00         49                     50                    2
12/3/00          43                     54                    3
11/12/00         32                     65                    3

8. Which comes closest to describing the way you feel about the outcome of this election: enthusiastic; satisfied but not enthusiastic; dissatisfied but not angry, or angry?


            ------Satisfied-------     -----Dissatisfied-----     No
           NET    Enthus.   Satis.    NET    Dissat.   Angry    opin.
		   
12/15/00   49       14        35      50       37        12       1

9. Do you think voting rules in presidential elections should continue to be set individually by states and counties, or should the federal government establish voting rules for all states and counties?


                      Rules set by     Rules set by     No
                      state/county     federal govt    opin.
					  
12/15/00                   35               61          3 

10. Would you support or oppose a federal law (READ ITEM): 12/15/00


                                              Support     Oppose       No opin.
a. Requiring the same design and layout        88          10           2 
    for all election ballots
b. Outlawing so-called punch-card ballots      64          29           8
c. Requiring all states and counties to use    87          12           1
   one kind of voting machine
d. Creating standard rules for how and when    86          11           3
   recounts are done
e. Setting a single poll closing time          64          32           4
   across the entire country

11. For future presidential elections, would you support or oppose changing to a system in which the president is elected by direct popular vote, instead of by the electoral college?


              Support     Oppose     No opin.
			  
12/15/00       62          33           5

12. (ASK IF SUPPORT IN Q.11) What if that meant presidential candidates paid less attention to the smaller states - in that case would you support or oppose changing from the electoral college to direct popular vote?


           Support     Oppose     No opin.
		   
12/15/00     68          28           4

13. Do you consider Bush to have been legitimately elected as president, or not?


          Yes   No   No opin.
		  
12/15/00   55    42       3
12/10/00*  71    27       1
12/3/00    73    23       4
11/26/00   76    19       5
*12/10 and previous: "If this ends with Bush winning the presidency, will you consider him…"

14. Do you think the election situation has put Bush in a stronger position to lead the country, a weaker position, or hasn't it made much difference in that?


           Stronger     Weaker     No diff.     No opin.
		   
12/15/00      13          40          44            3

15. Who do you personally want to become the next president - (Al Gore) or (George W. Bush)?


                             Neither   Other     No
               Gore   Bush   (vol.)    (vol.)   opin.
			   
12/15/00        47     39       9        2       2
12/10/00        39     47       9        2       3
12/3/00         43     46      10        *       1
11/26/00        42     43      10        2       3
11/16/00        44     43      10        2       2
11/12/00        44     45       6        1       4
*12/10 and previous: "Who do you…"

16. When Bush takes office in January, do you think he should work mainly with the Republicans in Congress to implement his policies, or work with both Republicans and Democrats to try and reach a compromise?


            Work mainly with     Work with both     No
               Republicans          Reps/Dems      opin.
			   
12/15/00           4                   94            2
 

17. Do you think Bush should or should not appoint some Democrats to his cabinet?


            Should appoint     Should not appoint     No
              Democrats            Democrats         opin.
			  
12/15/00          87                   7               6     
 

18. Although the court stopped the official recount in Florida, the ballots are public documents, which means that the news media could hire experts to conduct their own recount there. How confident would you be in the accuracy of such a recount - very confident, somewhat confident, not too confident or not confident at all?


            ------Confident-------   ------Not Confident-------   (VOL)    No
           NET    Very   Somewhat   NET   Not Too   Not at All  Depends  opin.
12/15/00   47      15       32      49      19          30         1       2   
 

19. (ASKED ONLY OF THOSE WHO SAY BUSH IS LEGITIMATE PRESIDENT) Suppose there is an unofficial recount in Florida and the results indicate that Gore should have won the presidential election. Would you consider Bush to have been legitimately elected as president, or not?


            Yes   No   No opin.
			
12/15/00     84    12       4
 

20. I'm going to read you a few names. For each, please tell me if you have a favorable or unfavorable impression of that person or group, or perhaps you don't know enough to say. 12/15/00


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
Al Gore                66           28             6
George W. Bush         56           36             8
The Republican party   54           35            11 
The Democratic party   64           25            11
Dick Cheney            55           23            22 
Ralph Nader            37           36            27 
Bill Clinton           56           40             4 
Colin Powell           70           10            19
 
Compare to: Al Gore


                 Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				 
Registered Voters:
10/15/00        44           37            20
9/6/00          59           32             9
7/23/00         53           37            10
6/11/00         46           38            16
General Population:
12/15/00        66           28             6
7/23/00         54           35            11
6/11/00         45           35            20
4/2/00          47           35            19
2/27/00         50           40            10
10/31/99        56           38             6
9/2/99          50           40            10
6/6/99          52           34            14
3/14/99         54           33            14
2/14/99         53           31            17
8/21/98         55           30            15
7/12/98         54           26            20
4/4/98          54           27            19
1/31/98         52           29            19
1/30/98         51           30            19
1/25/98         55           29            16
1/24/98         54           30            15
1/19/98         48           36            17
10/13/97        45           40            15
9/10/97         49           33            19
4/24/97         53           29            19
3/9/97          56           29            15
3/19/95         57           27            16
10/31/94        41           37            22
5/15/94         58           27            15
3/27/94         57           25            18
11/14/93        56           28            15
8/23/92 RV      52           19            29
7/19/92 RV      55           12            33
 
George W. Bush


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
Registered Voters:
10/15/00        46           34            21
9/6/00          58           31            11
7/23/00         61           30             9
6/11/00         54           29            17
General Population:
12/15/00        56           36             8
7/23/00         62           29             9
6/11/00         50           28            22
4/2/00          50           31            19
2/27/00         49           39            11
10/31/99        69           24             8
9/2/99          61           23            16
6/6/99          54           15            30
3/14/99         54           14            32
2/14/99         51           13            36
1/19/98         34           13            53
 
The Republican Party


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
12/15/00             54           35             11
1/16/00              53           37             10
 
Trend*:


                                           Never heard of/
                Favorable    Unfavorable     No opinion
				
1/10/00             53           41               6
1/10/00  LV         56           39               5
11/21/99            50           44               6
5/2/99              47           44               9        
2/21/99             45           46               9
2/13/99             40           54               5
2/8/99              45           47               8
1/10/99             40           52               8
12/20/98            31           57              12
12/16/98            43           47              10
10/29/97            50           42               8
9/1/96   RV         50           45               5
8/18/96  RV         55           41               4
8/7/96   RV         51           44               5
4/10/96             52           41               7
4/19/95             52           42               6
7/8/92   RV         53           39               8
*Gallup
 
The Democratic Party


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
12/15/00           64            25              11
1/16/00            56            35               9
 
Trend*:

                                Never heard of/ 
                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
1/10/00            61            33               6
1/10/00  LV        58            37               5
11/21/99           51            41               8
5/2/99             53            37              10
2/21/99            55            37               8
2/13/99            56            38               6
2/8/99             57            37               6
1/10/99            57            35               8
12/20/98           57            30              13
12/16/98           58            32              10
10/29/97           54            39               7
9/1/96   RV        60            36               4
8/18/96  RV        55            41               4
8/7/96   RV        57            38               5
4/10/96            55            38               7
4/19/95            51            43               6
7/8/92   RV        54            38               8     
*Gallup
 
Dick Cheney


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
Registered Voters:
9/6/00               42           20            38
7/29/00              34           11            55
General Population:
12/15/00             55           23            22
7/29/00              29           10            60
 
Ralph Nader


                  Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
				  
Registered Voters:
9/6/00          31           29            39
7/23/00         30           28            42
General Population:
12/15/00        37           36            27
7/23/00         29           27            44
 
Bill Clinton


                  ------Favorable------     -----Unfavorable------      No
            Net  Strngly    Smewht    Net  Strngly    Smewht    opinion
12/15/00     56    NA         NA      40      NA        NA         4
7/23/00      44    23         21      50      36        13         6
6/6/99*      52    NA         NA      44      NA        NA         4
2/14/99      57    32         25      40      29        11         3
1/30/99      54    35         19      42      30        12         3
9/28/98      48    NA         NA      47      NA        NA         5
8/23/98      45    NA         NA      49      NA        NA         6
8/21/98      56    NA         NA      40      NA        NA         4
8/19/98      39    NA         NA      57      NA        NA         4
7/12/98      54    NA         NA      40      NA        NA         6
5/12/98      54    NA         NA      42      NA        NA         4
4/4/98       55    NA         NA      39      NA        NA         6
2/18/98      56    NA         NA      41      NA        NA         3
1/30/98      60    NA         NA      35      NA        NA         6
1/25/98      54    NA         NA      42      NA        NA         5
1/24/98      51    NA         NA      44      NA        NA         5
1/19/98      59    NA         NA      35      NA        NA         6
1/12/98      59    NA         NA      33      NA        NA         7
10/13/97     59    NA         NA      37      NA        NA         4
9/10/97      57    NA         NA      38      NA        NA         5
3/9/97       60    NA         NA      38      NA        NA         3
9/4/96 RV    58    NA         NA      38      NA        NA         4
6/30/96      56    NA         NA      38      NA        NA         5
10/30/95     54    NA         NA      41      NA        NA         6
7/17/95      59    NA         NA      38      NA        NA         3
6/8/95       53    NA         NA      43      NA        NA         4
3/19/95      55    NA         NA      42      NA        NA         3
10/31/94     51    NA         NA      44      NA        NA         5
5/15/94      57    NA         NA      40      NA        NA         3
3/27/94      59    NA         NA      37      NA        NA         4
1/23/94      60    NA         NA      32      NA        NA         8
11/14/93     58    NA         NA      37      NA        NA         5
11/11/93     52    NA         NA      43      NA        NA         6
8/8/93       56    NA         NA      39      NA        NA         5
4/26/93      59    NA         NA      29      NA        NA        12
2/23/93      59    NA         NA      30      NA        NA        11
1/17/93      68    NA         NA      20      NA        NA        11
10/18/92 LV  56    NA         NA      36      NA        NA         8
9/27/92  LV  55    NA         NA      36      NA        NA         9
8/23/92  RV  54    NA         NA      36      NA        NA        10
7/19/92  RV  58    NA         NA      23      NA        NA        18
7/8/92       52    NA         NA      33      NA        NA        15
6/7/92       41    NA         NA      38      NA        NA        21
3/18/92      37    NA         NA      37      NA        NA        26
3/11/92      39    NA         NA      31      NA        NA        30
2/2/92       37    NA         NA      24      NA        NA        39
1/27/92      23    NA         NA      11      NA        NA        66
10/21/91     13    NA         NA       9      NA        NA        78
* Post poll
 
Colin Powell


              Favorable   Unfavorable   No opinion
			  
General Population:
12/15/00        70           10            19
9/10/97         73            6            21
4/24/97         75            6            19
10/30/95        59           12            29
7/17/95         65            9            27
6/6/95          59           10            30
3/19/95         66            7            27
10/31/94        63            8            29
11/14/93        68            7            25
 

21. Now I'm going to read you the names of some institutions in American society. Please tell me how much confidence you, yourself, have in each one: a great deal, quite a lot, some, or very little. 12/15/00


                               A great  Quite       Very     None   No            
                               deal    a lot  Some  little  (VOL)  opin.
The military                    46       29    17      5       *     2 
The U.S. Supreme Court          31       25    28     12       2     2 
The Clinton Administration      23       20    29     23       3     1
Congress                        20       25    39     12       1     3
The news media                   9       15    43     29       2     1  
The incoming Bush               18       19    32     22       2     7 
   administration
 
Trend where available: [*Post/Kaiser/Harvard]


                               A great  Quite       Very     None   No            
                               deal    a lot  Some  little  (VOL)  opin.
a. The military
12/15/00                        46       29    17      5       *     2
12/4/95*                        32       38    22      7       *     1
11/10/91	                    47	     31	   15	   6	   -	 1
10/21/91	                    40	     31	   21	   8	   -	 *
1/27/91	                        53	     32	   11	   4	   -	 1
9/9/90	                        42	     30	   20	   6	   -	 1
12/18/83	                    32	     34	   23	  10	   -	 1
9/20/81	                        26	     26	   29	  17	   -	 3
b. The U.S. Supreme Court
12/15/00                        31       25    28     12       2     2
12/4/95*                        13       26    41     16       2     2
10/21/91	                    19	     25	   38	  17	   -	 2
1/27/91	                        20	     28	   38	  13	   -	 2
9/9/90	                        22	     24	   36	  17	   -	 2
9/20/81	                        23	     28	   29	  16	   -	 4
c. The Clinton Administration
12/15/00                        23       20    29     23       3     1
12/4/95*                         9       16    36     33       5     1
d. Congress
12/15/00                        20       25    39     12       1     3
12/4/95*                         4       10    41     41       3     1
11/10/91	                     7	     10	   39	  43	   -	 1
10/21/91	                     8	     12	   44	  35	   -	 1
1/27/91	                        12	     16	   49	  22	   -	 1
9/9/90	                        11	     14	   47	  26	   -	 1 
12/18/83	                     9	     17	   43	  29	   -	 2
9/20/81	                        14	     22	   41	  21	   -	 3
e. The news media
12/15/00                         9       15    43     29       2     1
12/4/95*                         6       14    40     37       2     1
11/10/91	                    16	     21	   38	  25	   -	 1
 
 

22. Who do you trust to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next few years, George W. Bush or the Republicans in Congress?


                                      Both equally    No
               Bush     Republicans     (vol.)       opin.
			   
12/15/00        37        46              8            9
 
COMPARE TO: Who do you trust to do a better job coping with the main problems the nation faces over the next year - Clinton or the Republicans in Congress? P>

                                      Both equally    Neither      No
               Clinton    Republicans     (vol.)       (vol.)     opin.
1/26/00         45        46              *             7         2
2/14/99         52        35              2             7         3
2/12/99         53        30              3            11         4
1/19/99         50        32              3             8         7
11/7/98         47        38              4             9         2
9/28/98         51        38              2             6         3
9/28/98LV       47        45              1             4         2
8/21/98         48        38              2             9         3
7/12/98         48        38              1             6         6
5/12/98         47        39              3             8         3
1/31/98         52        35              3             4         6
1/19/98         48        40              2             8         2
3/9/97          49        38              4             8         2
1/15/97*        51        37              3             7         2
1/29/95         40        46              4             8         2
1/4/95          30        54              3             9         4
12/15/94        34        49              3             9         6
* "The Clinton administration"
 

23. 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.
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
 

24. Now I'm going to read you some statements that may or may not describe your own feelings about politics and government. Please tell me whether you agree or disagree with each one.
a. People like me don't have any say about what the government does


         --------AGREE--------     -------DISAGREE-------      No
         Net  Strngly    Smewht    Net  Strngly    Smewht    opinion
		 
12/15/00     38    20         19      61      36        25         1
12/4/95      52    29         23      47      28        19         1
b. Politics and government are so complicated that a person like me can't really understand what's going on


         --------AGREE--------     -------DISAGREE-------      No
         Net  Strngly    Smewht    Net  Strngly    Smewht    opinion
		 
12/15/00     41    19         22      58      33        25         1
8/1/99       50    26         24      50      28        21         1
c. Voting is a waste of time.


         --------AGREE--------     -------DISAGREE-------      No
         Net  Strngly    Smewht    Net  Strngly    Smewht    opinion
		 
12/15/00     11     6          5      88      77        12         1
8/1/99       16     8          8      83      14        69         *
d. Whatever its faults, the United States still has the best system of government in the world


         --------AGREE--------     -------DISAGREE-------      No
         Net  Strngly    Smewht    Net  Strngly    Smewht    opinion
		 
12/15/00     89    71         18      11       4         7         *
5/6/96       83    NA         NA      15      NA        NA         2
9/11/94      84    NA         NA      12      NA        NA         3
4/9/92       85    NA         NA      14      NA        NA         1
*= less than 0.5 percent

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