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Draft Reinstatement Proposal Gets A Cool Response

Rep. Charlie Rangel (D-N.Y.) recently called for reinstating the draft, but the public isn’t enthusiastic.

Just 27 percent of Americans told Gallup, CNN and USA Today in early January that they favored returning to a draft; 69 percent did not. In three questions in the early 1980s, majorities or pluralities favored reinstating the draft. [IMGCAP(1)]

When asked in the new poll whether the country should return to the draft “if the United States invades Iraq,” 43 percent were in favor, but 53 percent opposed.

When Fox News/Opinion Dynamics asked in its Jan. 14-15 poll “if it becomes clear that more soldiers are needed in the war against terrorism, would you approve or disapprove of reinstituting the military draft,” 56 percent said they approved and 36 percent disapproved.

In the Princeton Survey Research Associates/Newsweek poll taken Jan. 16-17, 13 percent said they favored reinstating the draft, 37 percent said it should be considered and 46 percent said it should not be considered.

In the next question, 49 percent said young women should be required to serve as well as young men if a draft is reinstated, while 46 percent disagreed.

Thumbs Down on Admissions Preferences. In the mid-January PSRA/Newsweek poll, 26 percent said colleges and universities should give preference in admissions to blacks, while 68 percent said they should not.

Thirty-seven percent of minorities in the survey said preference should be given.

The results were similar for giving preferences to Hispanics, Asians, athletes, and musicians or other artists.

Americans were less enthusiastic about giving preferences to children of alumni; 19 percent said they should be given, while 74 percent disagreed.

In another question in the poll, 22 percent of the national sample said affirmative action for blacks and Hispanics in college admissions improves the quality of education, 14 percent said it decreases it and 53 percent said it doesn’t have much effect. The responses for minorities were 34 percent improves, 10 percent decreases and 44 percent not much effect.

Roughly two-thirds of those surveyed favored needs-based affirmative action, defined as “affirmative action based on income instead of race,” while 28 percent disapproved of the idea.

In the mid-January ABC News/Washington Post poll, 30 percent supported “government and private programs that give women, blacks and other minorities preference over white men getting into college, getting a job or getting a promotion,” and 66 percent were opposed. In the next question, 69 percent supported giving “assistance — but not preferences” to these groups — and 26 percent were opposed.

Seventy-one percent of whites but only 38 percent of blacks said that President Bush cares about the needs and problems of blacks.

The 50-50 Nation: Economic and Tax Proposals. Thirty-six percent told Fox News/Opinion Dynamics interviewers Jan. 14-15 that the Republican Party’s economic and tax proposals would be more likely to make the economy grow; 32 percent said the Democratic Party’s would.

Awareness of Trent Lott. In the Jan. 8-12 PSRA/Pew Research Center poll, 45 percent could name Sen. Trent Lott (R-Miss.) unaided when asked the name of the Republican Senator who recently resigned as Majority Leader after making controversial remarks at a public event.

In the poll, 20 percent said they were following the story very closely, and 34 percent fairly closely. Pew said that compared to other political scandals, interest was relatively low.

Internet Election News: A Long Way to Go. Thirteen percent of those surveyed by Princeton Survey Research Associates for the Pew Research Center and the Pew Internet and American Life Project said they went online for election news, up from 6 percent in 1998.

Although the online audience for campaign news grew over the past four years, those who went online did so less frequently in 2002 (59 percent online at least weekly) than in 1998 (65 percent).

National and local news organizations’ Web sites were more popular for election news than political sites such as candidate sites or sites specializing in politics.

Republicans were more likely to go online for election news than Democrats (18 percent to 11 percent) in the October-November poll.

Higher Taxes Under the Republicans? Forty percent told CBS News/New York Times interviewers in November that their taxes would be higher “with the Republicans in control of Congress,” and 40 percent said they would stay about the same. Only 14 percent thought taxes would decrease.

In the January CBS News poll, 38 percent said they would increase, 43 percent said they would stay about the same and 13 percent said they would go down. A majority of Republicans thought they would stay about the same. A majority of Democrats and a plurality of independents thought they would increase.

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