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Results of September 2004 Poll

The poll reflects a random national telephone sample of 223 persons conducted between September 17 and October 1. The margin or error statistic ranges from 4-7% on individual questions.*

My name is _____________. I'm calling for Retro Poll.
This is not a sales call; we do public opinion polling, and your number was chosen at random for a brief interview. Would you be able to take a few minutes of your time to respond to our poll on current U.S. government policies?
(only if asked "how long?": it takes about 10 minutes.)
Are you 16 or over?
Thank you

1. In your personal opinion which statement best describes the impact of the U.S. Government's War on Terrorism:

a) It prevents terrorism (31.4%)
b) It has had little impact on terrorism (26.5%)
c) It tends to create terrorists (23.3%)
d) none of the above/ not sure (18.8%)

In the rest of this poll, you will notice that the first half asks for factual information and the second half asks for your opinions. In the first part it is better to say you don't know than to guess the answer to any question. Few people will know all the answers so don't feel bad about saying you don't know. But please try and be honest and complete the poll. We'll tell you where to find the right answers to the factual questions later. Ok?

2. Is there evidence that Saddam Hussein worked with Al Qaeda?

yes (29.1%), no (41.7%), don't know (29.1%)

Correct answer: No

The Bill of Rights, passed in 1791, includes the first 10 amendments to the Constitution and provides for most of our civil rights. Which of the following are part of the Bill of Rights:

3. Guarantees accused persons the right to a speedy and public trial.

yes (60.5%), no (11.7%), don't know (27.8%)

Correct answer: Yes

4. Provides that the Government may force accused persons to testify against themselves.

yes (6.7%), no (69.5%), don't know (23.8%)

Correct answer: No

5. Authorizes the Government to detain suspects indefinitely and punish them as it sees fit without charging them with specific crimes.

yes (9.0%), no (72.2%), don't know (18.8%)

Correct answer: No

6. Protects people against unreasonable searches and seizures by the Government in our private lives and homes.

yes (78.9%), no (9.4%), don't know (11.7%)

Correct answer: Yes

7. Guarantees the unrestricted right of the people to peaceably assemble to express their political views

yes (87.9%), no (4.0%), don't know (8.1%)

Correct answer: Yes

8. Is the following statement true or false or don't know: Sexual abuse and physical beatings have been systematically inflicted upon South Asians held on immigration issues in some prisons within the United States as well as prisoners at Guantanamo, Iraq, and Afghanistan.

true (15.3%), false (21.2%), don't know (63.5%)

Correct answer: True

9. Since the death penalty was restored in the U.S. how many convicted murderers awaiting execution have been later proven innocent and set free.

a) 0-10 (17.1%)
b) under 50 (18.9%)
c) overe 110 (16.2%)
d) don't know (47.7%)

Correct answer: c) over 110

10. In response to requests under the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA), Attorney General Ashcroft ordered all federal agencies to make public the records on thousands of people arrested after 9/11.

true (22.2%), false (22.2%), don't know (55.7%)

Correct answer: False

11. In the Oslo Peace Agreement of 1993 with the Palestinians, Israel agreed to begin withdrawing its military bases and settlements from Palestinian lands in the West Bank. Since then Israel has withdrawn from:

a) a few settlements (11.7%)
b) 20% of its settlements (9.5%)
c) built more settlements & bases to defend them (22.1%)
d) don't know (56.8%)

Correct answer: c) Built more settlements and bases to defend them

12. The controlling relationship of Israel over the lives of millions of Palestinians is exemplified by the separation wall. Is it true or false that this wall is condemned by the International Court of Justice and the United Nations as violations of international law but is endorsed by President Bush?

true (39.6%), false (11.7%), don't know (48.7%)

Correct answer: True

13. The U.S. media has often repeated claims that Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat turned down an excellent peace offer from Israel's Ehud Barak during talks in the U.S. at Camp David in 2000. Actual documents from the meetings support this view.

true (38.9%), false (11.3%), don't know (49.8%)

Correct answer: False

14. Over 346 cities and towns and 4 states have passed resolutions concerning the USA Patriot Act. Do these resolutions

a) call for vigorous law enforcement of the Act (4.5%)
b) ask that it be strengthened (8.1%)
c) call for the removal of key provisions because they violate our democratic rights (33.3%)
d) don't know (54.1%)

Correct answer: C

15. Do you receive most of your news and information from

a) daily newspaper and b) magazines (17.6%)
c) major TV networks including PBS (46.4%)
d) internet sources (9.5%)
e) alternative media (9.0%)
f) other

The following questions ask for your personal opinion. If you have no opinion or your opinion is not among the choices, please so state.

16. Should the U.S. fully withdraw its troops from Iraq?

yes (41.4%), no (50.5%), don't know (8.1%)

17. U.S. soldiers and private contractors have tortured prisoners in prisons in Iraq and Afghanistan. Do you believe that these are the acts of a few bad apples?

(no results, see footnote)

18. A legal review in California showed 76 system problems in death penalty procedures (similar to 85 problems found in Illinois) that led to unjust convictions. Should other states do as Illinois has done and put a moratorium on executions until unfairness in application of the death penalty has been addressed?

yes (55.9%), no (24.8%), don't know (19.4%)

19. In your opinion is the USA Patriot Act

a) having no impact on our civil rights (8.6%)
b) protecting our right to dissent and strengthening civil rights (17.2%)
c) removing important rights and Constitutional guarantees (34.8%)
d) not sure (39.4%)

20. If, as alleged, President Bush and his staff have films and photos showing U.S. troops sodomizing children in Iraq does the suppression of this information from scrutiny constitute collaboration in criminal activity?

yes (42.1%); no (13.1%); question is leading, speculative, and unfair (23.1%); don't know (21.7%)

21. Do you support or oppose the U.S.A. Patriot Act provision requiring the cooperation of local business people and professionals to turn over records of their clients and customers to federal agents and be sworn to silence about their actions?

support (24.0%), oppose (57.9%), don't know (18.1%)

22. The Federal Bureau of Prisons issued an emergency surveillance order permitting conversations between prisoners and their lawyers to be recorded without a warrant. Do you support or oppose this removal of confidentiality rights?

support (28.1%), oppose (64.3%), don't know (7.7%)

23. Do you support or oppose the USA Patriot Act authorizing government agents to enter your home and otherwise investigate you without cause, recording and copying any materials they wish to, and never telling you?

support (13.1%), oppose (80.5%), don't know (6.3%)

24. 24. Should Israel abide by the UN resolutions that require Israel to return all Israeli settlers to within its UN established borders?

yes (44.3%), no (27.6%), don't know (28.1%)

25. In your personal opinion which statement best describes the intentions of the Israeli government toward the Palestinians and the territories they currently live in (i.e. the West Bank and Gaza).

a) To work with the Palestinians to form a fully independent country called Palestine living in peace next door to Israel. (34.5%)
b) To convince the Palestinians that any Palestinian government will be under Israeli military control. (10.9%)
c) To eventually seize all the Palestinian lands to continue expanding Israeli settlements and military control. (12.7%)
d) None of these or don’t know. (41.8%)

26. Today Israel controls the lives of over 3 million Palestinians most of whom are not its citizens, have no basic human rights and can not vote in Israeli elections. Is this relationship consistent with democratic government?

yes (11.8%), no (70.0%), don't know (18.2%)

Do you support or oppose that the following policies be carried out by the U.S. government:

27. Creation of a national health fund providing total health care coverage for every American at all medical institutions, with the elimination of health insurance company profits and out of pocket patient costs.

support (61.6%), oppose (26.0%), don't know (12.4%)

28. The U.S. should support international attempts to prosecute war crimes and crimes against humanity.

support (73.6%), oppose (14.1%), don't know (12.3%)

29. Lengthy detention for anyone whom the U.S. Government decides to arrest without their providing any criminal charges, proofs or trials.

support (10.5%), oppose (73.6%), don't know (15.9%)

30. Treating those who oppose or resist U.S. government policies and military actions as terrorist supporters or terrorists.

support (14.5%), oppose (62.7%), don't know (22.7%)

Please provide
your age (31)___________
sex (32) female (57.4%), male (42.6%)
highest educational level(33)______
(G=grades 1-11, HS=high school grad, SC=some college, degrees: AA, BA, BS, MA, MS, MFA, PhD, MD, LLD);
State (35)________________
Ethnicity (36)______________
Native American (4.5%), Asian/Pacific Islander (5.4%), African American (7.2%), Latin American (6.8%), European-American (71.2%), Decline to State (1.4%), Biracial (3.6%)

To those polled: Thank you so much for participating in our poll and for caring enough to share your views. For answers to the factual questions, please go to the answers page.


*This assumes a truly random sample. As elaborated in our article from Z Magazine found elsewhere on this web site, this is always a refutable assumption (though made by major polling organizations) in light of the typically high rate of refusal to participate by most people actually contacted. We are not providing results of questions 17 and 33 in our analysis as the questions were worded or coded badly and thus the answers are not interpretable. Correlations between factual questions and opinion questions were tested using the Chi-squared statistic and are reported out elsewhere in our analysis only if they are highly significant (at the 95-100% probability level depending on the specific correlation).

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