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  Washington Post Jury Study

Monday, August 30, 1999

The latest Washington Post poll is based on random telephone interviews with 1,008 adults on July 14 - 18, 1999. The margin of error is plus or minus 4 percentage points.*

1. As you may know, in recent months several juries have decided that tobacco companies should be held financially responsible for the health injuries of smokers. Do you approve or disapprove of these decisions?

                          
			     Approve      Disapprove      Don't Know
 
7/18/99  			 38            59             3    

2. In some of these cases, juries have decided that tobacco companies should not only pay for the actual health care costs, but should also pay additional millions of dollars as punishment for failing to reveal information about the dangers of smoking. Do you support or oppose such multimillion dollar penalties?

                          
			       Support         Oppose       Don't Know
 
7/18/99  			  41              55            3    

3. Earlier this year a jury for the first time decided that gun manufacturers should be held financially responsible for shooting deaths and other illegal uses of their weapons. Do you approve or disapprove of this decision?

                          
			     	 Approve     Disapprove     Don't Know
 
7/18/99  			   25            70             4    

4. In these cases, juries are taking on a more important role in punishing companies for the harmful side effects of their legal products: Some people say this is mostly a good thing, because elected officials have not done a good job addressing these problems, Other people say this is mostly a bad thing, because juries should concentrate on the facts of one particular case rather than making decisions that will affect the whole country. Which of these comes closer to your view?

                          
			     	 Good Thing     Bad Thing     Don't Know
 
7/18/99  			    35            55             10    

4a. (Of those who have an opinion about juries role) Is this something you feel strongly about, or not?

                          
			     	Strongly     Not Strongly     Don't Know
 
7/18/99  			    64            35              1    

4/4a. Summary Table

           ------Good Thing------  -------Bad Thing-------  
           NET  Strongly   Not     NET   Strongly    Not    Don't 
                         Strongly                  Strongly  Know
7/18/99    35     22       13       55       36       18       10

5. Overall, do you think the tobacco industry has behaved responsibly or not responsibly in advertising and selling its products?

                          
		 Responsibly     Not Responsibly     Don't Know
 
7/18/99  		39              59                1    

6. Overall, do you think gun manufacturers have behaved responsibly or not responsibly in advertising and selling their products?

                          
		  Responsibly    Not Responsibly     Don't Know
 
7/18/99  		 45              46                9    

* Items 1 - 4a were asked of half the sample (504 adults) and items 5 - 6 were asked of the other half (504) in order to avoid order effects.

© Copyright 1999 The Washington Post Company

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