Politics

Election Leaves Americans Divided About Future

Most agree with Kerry concession

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- A one-night poll conducted the day after the most expensive campaign in American history, and one of the most bitter, finds Americans divided in their feelings about President George W. Bush's second term. About a quarter are enthusiastic, but another quarter are afraid. The rest tend more toward optimism than pessimism, but the divisions by party are still deep.

While Republicans are almost universally pleased with the outcome of the election, about three-quarters of Democrats are upset, including almost half who are "very" upset. Eight in 10 Americans agree with Sen. John Kerry's decision to concede the election, but agreement is much greater among Republicans than Democrats, almost a third of whom disagree. The good news for Bush is that about three in four Americans believe he won this election fair and square, compared with less than half who felt that way after the 2000 election. Still, 3 in 10 Democrats believe Bush stole the 2004 election.

The CNN/USA Today/Gallup survey was conducted among a random sample of adult Americans on Wednesday evening, hours after Kerry delivered a speech announcing he would concede the election rather than wait until all of the provisional ballots are counted in Ohio. Acknowledging that he had little chance of making up a deficit of more than 100,000 votes in that state, Kerry promised he would still fight to make sure every vote was counted. The poll shows that 80% of Americans agree with his concession, and only 16% disagree. Also, a majority of Americans interpret his concession as a realistic (60%) rather than as a statesmanlike (35%) gesture.

Shortly after Kerry's speech, Bush declared victory and said he would do his best to fulfill the duty of a president to serve all Americans. A majority of Americans tend to accept the president's word, with 57% predicting he will do more to unite the country than divide it, though 39% predict he will do the opposite. Also, 63% of Americans believe Bush's actions in office should be to emphasize programs that both parties support, while only 30% say Bush has a mandate to advance the Republican Party's agenda.

Looking to Bush's next term, 56% of Americans say they are either enthusiastic (23%) or optimistic (33%), while 42% are either pessimistic (18%) or afraid (24%). Half of Republicans are enthusiastic, while half of Democrats are afraid.

Survey Methods

Results are based on telephone interviews with 621 national adults, aged 18 and older, conducted Nov. 3, 2004. For results based on the total sample of national adults, one can say with 95% confidence that the maximum margin of sampling error is ±4 percentage points.

In addition to sampling error, question wording and practical difficulties in conducting surveys can introduce error or bias into the findings of public opinion polls.

Polls conducted entirely in one day, such as this one, are subject to additional error or bias not found in polls conducted over several days.

First,

1. Which of the following best describes your reaction to the outcome of the presidential election -- [ROTATED: very pleased, pleased, it doesn't matter to you one way or the other, upset, (or) very upset]?

 

Very pleased

Pleased

Doesn't matter

Upset

Very upset

No opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

33%

18

9

18

20

2

2. As you may know, Democratic presidential nominee John Kerry conceded the presidential election to George W. Bush today. Do you agree or disagree with Kerry's decision? Do you [agree/disagree] strongly or only moderately?

 

Strongly agree

Moderately agree

Moderately disagree

Strongly disagree

No opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

54%

26

5

11

4

3. Do you think John Kerry's decision to concede the election represents -- [ROTATED: the actions of a statesman (or) the actions of someone who is just being realistic]?

 

Actions of a statesman

Actions of someone being realistic

No opinion

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

35%

60

5

4. Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won this election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

 

Won fair and square

Won on technicality

Stole the election

No
opinion

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

74%

10

13

3

TREND FOR COMPARISON (2000 ELECTION):

Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the 2000 presidential election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

 

Won fair
and square

Won on
technicality

Stole
the election

No
opinion

 

%

%

%

%

2004 Jan 2-5

49

31

18

2

 

 

 

 

 

2002 Apr 5-7

49

34

16

1

2001 Nov 2-4

50

32

15

3

2001 Jul 10-11

48

33

17

2

2001 Apr 20-22 ^

50

29

19

2

2001 Jan 15-16 ^ †

45

31

24

*

2000 Dec 15-17 †

48

32

18

2

 

 

 

 

 

* Less than 0.5%

^ Based on half sample

† WORDING: Which comes closest to your view of the way George W. Bush won the election -- [ROTATED: he won fair and square, he won, but only on a technicality, (or) he stole the election]?

5. Which of the following best describes your feelings as you look ahead to George W. Bush's second term as president -- [ROTATED: enthusiastic, optimistic, pessimistic, (or) afraid]?

 

Enthusiastic

Optimistic

Pessimistic

Afraid

No opinion

 

 

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

23%

33

18

24

2

6. In the next four years, do you think George W. Bush will do more to -- [ROTATED: unite the country (or more to) divide the country]?

 

Unite

Divide

No opinion

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

57%

39

4

7. Which comes closer to your view -- [ROTATED: because the election was so close, George W. Bush should emphasize programs that both parties support (or) because he won a majority of the votes, George W. Bush has a mandate to advance the Republican Party's agenda]?

 

Programs both parties support

Advance Republican agenda

No
opinion

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

63%

30

7

On a different topic,

8. Overall, do you think the news media did a good job or a poor job of covering the election on Election Day?

 

Good job

Poor job

No opinion

 

 

 

 

2004 Nov 3

78%

19

3

 

Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/13951/Election-Leaves-Americans-Divided-About-Future.aspx Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A +1 202.715.3030