In the polls

Stephen W. Stromberg
June 19, 2004 3:32AM (UTC)

There's a cornucopia of new polls out, including a Harris poll on Americans' (mis)perceptions on WMD and the slippery al-Qaida connection in Iraq. "[M]ost people (55%) believe that what we were told by the U.S. government before the war about weapons of mass destruction and links to the al-Qaida terrorist organization was generally accurate Given these findings it is no surprise that a 56% to 37% majority rejects the idea that the U.S. government deliberately exaggerated the reports of weapons of mass destruction in order to increase support for the war."

Perhaps now, after the 9/11 commission staff report's ringing insistence that there was no substantive Iraq-al Qaida relationship (released just after this poll ended), more Americans will get a clue.


When it comes to support for Bushs handling of the war, Americans are a little less forgiving of the president. A Pew Research Center for the People & the Press survey found that 51 percent of Americans disapprove of the way Bush is "rebuilding" Iraq.

Meanwhile, some new horserace polls in battleground states offer good news for the Kerry camp. American Research Group's survey of likely voters in West Virginia, a red state in 2000, gives Kerry the edge 47 percent to Bushs 44. The two had been tied in the end of May. In Washington, a Moore Information poll gives Kerry 45 percent and Bush 44 -- but the 1 point difference is well within the margin of error. Tennessee, which didnt even go for native son Al Gore in 2000, is still in the Bush column with 49 percent for the incumbent and 41 percent for Kerry according to Rasmussen Reports.

Looking ahead to 2008, new polling data from the University of Pennsylvania's National Annenberg Election Survey shows just how electable female candidates are. Pitted against George W. Bush, Hillary Clinton would do just as well as John Kerry. 78 percent of Democrats and 8 percent of Republicans would vote for Kerry over Bush, compared to 78 percent of Democrats and 7 percent of Republicans for Clinton. Elizabeth Dole against Kerry fares about as well as Clinton against Bush.


Regardless of Hillary's political fortunes, though, Bill Clinton's favorability ratings are the highest they've been since 1998, according to a Fox News poll -- 52 percent of registered voters surveyed have a favorable opinion of the former president as he launches his book tour, up from 47 percent in the beginning of 2004.

And, in non-political polling news, a decade after the "trial of the century," more Americans than ever think that O.J. Simpson is guilty. The latest Gallup poll shows that 78 percent of Americans think O.J. killed Nicole Brown Simpson and Ronald Goldman, up from 70 percent following his acquittal in 1995. Does the glove fit now?

Stephen W. Stromberg

Stephen W. Stromberg is a former editorial fellow at Salon.

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