Post-election Survey: Public Perceptions in U.S. Still Divided

Source Organization: Pew Research Center

12/21/2004 - Six weeks after President Bush's victory, the divisions that were so apparent in the election show no signs of narrowing. The public remains split over the president's job performance, the situation in Iraq, and the state of the national economy. But Bush voters are upbeat on all three questions ­ 92% approve of the president's job performance; 79% say the war effort is going well; and 58% give thumbs up on the economy. Those who voted for John Kerry are dramatically more negative, while those who did not vote fall between the two extremes.

While partisans continue to see the world through different lenses, the public appears less engaged with national and international news than it did prior to the election. In particular, the percentage following news about Iraq very closely has fallen to 34%, well below levels of engagement recorded over the last 12 months. Further, just 16% reported paying very close attention to the debate over revamping the nation's intelligence system, while 10% focused closely on the contested election in Ukraine.

Recent stories about sports revelations of steroid use in major league baseball and a brawl between NBA players and fans ­ as well as Scott Peterson's murder conviction all drew more interest than reports on intelligence reform or the Ukraine crisis. Interest in the sports scandals and the Peterson case was on par with similar stories in the past.

Read the full survey Public Perceptions in U.S. Still Divided on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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