Polls Find Different Opinions on Coverage of Iraq Casualties

Posted January 20, 2004 at 3:56pm

Forty percent told Gallup, CNN and USA Today interviewers in mid-November that television cameras should be permitted when the coffins of soldiers who have died in Iraq are removed from the plane, but 56 percent said they should not be. [IMGCAP(1)]

In December polling, 62 percent told CBS News and New York Times interviewers that the public should be allowed to see pictures of the military honor guard receiving caskets of soldiers killed in Iraq as they are returned to the United States, but 27 percent said the public should not. Twenty-six percent thought President Bush had attended some of the funerals of military personnel killed in Iraq, 24 percent thought he had not, and 50 percent didn’t know. Two-thirds said he should attend some of the funerals, but 27 percent said this was not necessary.

Are We Safer? Forty-six percent of registered voters surveyed Jan. 7-8 by Fox News and Opinion Dynamics said the capture of Saddam Hussein had made the United States safer, but 46 percent disagreed.

In a Jan. 9-11 Gallup, CNN and USA Today poll, 73 percent said President Bush’s policies since Sept. 11, 2001, had addressed the fundamental security risks that existed before Sept. 11, while 25 percent said they had not.

A Jan. 10-12 NBC News and Wall Street Journal poll about homeland security found that 54 percent believed the government was doing all that can reasonably be expected to make the United States safer, while 41 percent said the government could do more.

Sixty-eight percent told CBS News and New York Times interviewers in Jan. 12-15 polling that the Bush administration’s policies have made then United States more safe from terrorism, while 19 percent said less safe, and 14 said the policies had not affected the country’s safety.

Reviewing Election 2000. In mid-December, the O’Leary Report/Zogby International Values Poll found that 56 percent regarded the Bush presidency as legitimate “considering the recount of votes in Florida during the presidential election three years ago,” but 38 percent said the election was stolen. Sixty-two percent of those in the red (Bush) states said his presidency was legitimate (32 percent stolen), while 50 percent of those in blue (Gore states) said it was legitimate (44 percent stolen).

Forty-nine percent told Gallup, CNN and USA Today interviewers in its Jan. 2-5 poll that Bush won the 2000 election fair and square, 31 percent on a technicality and 18 percent that he stole the election. Those numbers have been essentially flat in six pervious iterations of the question beginning in December 2000.

In the mid-January CBS News and New York Times poll, 54 percent said that Bush legitimately won the 2000 presidential election, but 42 percent said he did not. Just 27 percent of Democrats said he legitimately won. Independents were split, 49 percent to 45 percent.

Wine and Beer Drinkers and the 2004 Contest. In a mid-November Los Angeles Times poll, 14 percent said that, generally speaking, they were more likely to drink wine with their dinner and 8 percent said beer. Forty-six percent of the wine drinkers said they would definitely or probably support a Democratic candidate for president, and 38 percent said they would support President Bush. Fifty-six percent of the beer drinkers said they would definitely or probably support Bush and 32 percent said a Democrat.

Wine drinkers, according to the poll, are more upscale socioeconomically.

Turning on the Dime? Just 16 percent in an early December 2003 Gallup, CNN and USA Today poll favored removing Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s portrait from the dime and replacing it with a portrait of Ronald Reagan.

Election News Enthusiasts. Seven percent in the Pew Research Center/Pew Internet and American Life poll taken Dec. 19, 2003-Jan. 4 fit the bill of being election news junkies. They were following the campaign closely, enjoying keeping up with election politics, and were familiar with the election events and facts Pew inquired about.

Fears of Mad Cow Disease and Terrorism. Sixteen percent in the early January Gallup, CNN and USA Today poll said they were worried that someone in their family would become a victim of mad cow disease. In another Gallup poll, 27 percent said they were worried someone in their family would become a victim of terrorism.

A New Job Approval Question? Forty-nine percent of registered voters told Fox News and Opinion Dynamics pollsters in a Jan. 7-8 poll that Bush had done a good job as president, 28 percent an OK job, and 21 percent a bad job.

Karlyn Bowman is a resident fellow specializing in public opinion and polls at the American Enterprise Institute.