COLLEGE PARK, Md., March 21 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- In sharp
contrast to views recently expressed by Vice President Cheney, a new poll
finds that Americans believe government leaders should pay attention to
public opinion polls and that the public should generally have more
influence over government leaders than it does.
Eighty-one percent say when making "an important decision" government
leaders "should pay attention to public opinion polls because this will
help them get a sense of the public's views." Only 18 percent say "they
should not pay attention to public opinion polls because this will distract
them from deciding what they think is right."
When ABC News correspondent Martha Raddatz cited polling data showing
majority opposition to the Iraq war, Cheney responded, "So?" Asked,
"So--you don't care what the American people think?" he responded, "No,"
and explained, "I think you cannot be blown off course by the fluctuations
in the public opinion polls."
Americans also rejected White House spokeswoman Dana Perino's
explanation that "the American people have input every four years, and
that's the way our system is set up."
When Americans are asked whether they think that "elections are the
only time when the views of the people should have influence, or that also
between elections leaders should consider the views of the people as they
make decisions," 94 percent say that government leaders should pay
attention to the views of the public between elections.
The study was conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org; the poll of 975
Americans was fielded from January 18 to 27 by Knowledge Networks. The
margin of error was +/-3.2 percentage points.
The focus of the study is the principle expressed in the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights that "the will of the people should be the
basis of the authority of government." Presented with this statement, 87
percent of Americans say they agree with it and 83 percent say that the
will of the people should have more influence that it does.
Steven Kull, director of WorldPublicOpinion.org, comments, "While
Americans do not say that leaders should always follow the will of the
public, they do think that American leaders should be considerably more
responsive to the people and should even pay attention to polls."
For detailed findings and methods, visit: See
SOURCE Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of