Initial Reaction of Americans to a Bush Choice of Cheney Is Positive

by Frank Newport

Nation not excited by choice, but say it reflects positively on Bush's ability to make important presidential decisions

GALLUP NEWS SERVICE

PRINCETON, NJ -- The American public has a generally positive reaction to George W. Bush's expected announcement on Tuesday that former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney is his pick to be the Republican vice presidential nominee this year. A special CNN/USA Today/Gallup poll of 644 registered voters conducted Monday night shows that between 50% and 60% of Americans have a positive opinion of the choice, have a favorable opinion of Cheney (although about four out of ten don't know enough about him to have an opinion), and think that Cheney is qualified to serve as president if need be. A slightly higher number -- 64% -- say that if Bush selects Cheney it would reflect favorably on Bush's ability to make important presidential decisions.

At the same time, most voters say that the choice of Cheney would have no effect on their vote for president, and historic comparisons show that Republican nominee Bob Dole's selection of Jack Kemp in 1996 and Democratic nominee Bill Clinton's choice of Al Gore in 1992 had slightly more positive impacts on voters.

Additionally, when Bush voters were asked if they were "excited" about Bush's probable selection of Cheney, only 36% said "yes," suggesting that a Cheney selection would be solid and safe, but not necessarily spectacular. Overall, just 23% of all registered voters indicated they were excited about a Bush decision to tap Cheney.

The inclusion of Dick Cheney with George W. Bush on trial heat ballots slightly increased the share of the vote given to the Republican ticket compared to a July 14-16 Gallup poll, but from a somewhat longer-term perspective, the snapshot poll conducted on Monday night showed that the Republican ticket occupies roughly the same position that it has in the majority of Gallup polls conducted over the past several months.

Cheney served as Secretary of Defense under Bush's father, and his selection has focused attention again on the role of the senior Bush in the younger Bush's race for president. One thing is clear from the poll: the public's initial reaction to George W.'s selection of Cheney is significantly more positive than was the initial reaction to former President Bush's selection of Dan Quayle in 1988. While 55% of Americans in the Monday night poll said that a Cheney selection would be "excellent" or "pretty good," only 44% said the same thing about Quayle's selection by Bush the elder in 1988, while a majority rated the selection of Quayle as "only fair" or "poor."

Two possible liabilities that have already surfaced concerning Cheney are his health (he had slight heart attacks in the 1970s and 1980s and underwent heart bypass surgery in 1988) and the fact that, like Bush, he has ties to the oil industry. About seven out of ten Americans, however, said in the Monday night poll that neither of these issues was of concern to them.

Here are the complete findings from the poll:

As you may know, Republican presidential candidate George W. Bush is reported to be leaning toward choosing Former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running mate. Al Gore and Pat Buchanan will choose their vice presidential running mates later this summer.

Now suppose that the presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore as the Democratic candidate, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney as the Republican candidate, Pat Buchanan, as the Reform Party candidate, and Ralph Nader as the Green Party candidate. Would you vote for -- [RANDOM ORDER: Al Gore, the Democrat, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney the Republican candidate, Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, (or) Ralph Nader the Green Party candidate]?

As of today do you lean toward Gore, the Democrat, Bush and Cheney, the Republicans, Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, or Nader, the Green Party candidate?

 

 

Al
Gore

Bush/
Cheney

Pat Buchanan

Nader

OTHER
(vol.)

No opinion

             

Registered Voters

           

2000 Jul 24

41%

49

1

3

*

6

             

2000 Jul 14-16

41%

43

3

6

*

7

2000 Jun 23-25

40%

47

3

6

0

4

2000 Jun 6-7

42%

43

3

5

*

7

2000 Apr 28-30

42%

44

4

4

1

5

             

Note: No Likely Voter information available in current poll



(vol.) Volunteered response

If Al Gore were the Democratic Party's candidate and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney were the Republican Party's candidates, who would you be more likely to vote for -- [ROTATE: Al Gore, the Democrat (or) George W. Bush and Cheney, the Republicans]?

As of today, do you lean more toward -- [ROTATE: Al Gore, the Democrat (or) George W. Bush and Dick Cheney, the Republicans]?

 

 

Al Gore

Bush/Cheney

OTHER (vol.)

No opinion

         

Registered Voters

       

2000 Jul 24

45%

49

*

6

         

2000 Jul 14-16

45%

47

1

7

2000 Jul 6-9

44%

45

1

10

2000 Jun 23-25

42%

48

1

9

2000 Jun 6-7

44%

46

1

9

2000 May 23-24

41%

49

1

9

2000 Apr 28-30

45%

46

1

8

2000 Apr 7-9

41%

48

1

10

2000 Mar 30-Apr 2

45%

44

1

10

2000 Mar 10-12

44%

49

1

6

2000 Feb 25-27

44%

51

*

5

2000 Feb 20-21

44%

51

*

5

2000 Feb 14-15

46%

48

*

6

2000 Feb 4-6

45%

51

*

4

2000 Jan 25-26

44%

51

--

5

2000 Jan 17-19

41%

53

*

6

2000 Jan 13-16

41%

52

1

6

2000 Jan 7-10

44%

51

*

5

1999 Dec 20-21

42%

53

*

5

1999 Dec 9-12

42%

55

*

3

1999 Nov 18-21

40%

56

*

4



(vol.) Volunteered response

Next, we'd like to get your overall opinion of some people in the news. As I read each name, please say if you have a favorable or unfavorable opinion of this person -- or if you have never heard of him or her. First, ... . How about ... [Random order]?

 

A. Former Secretary of Defense Dick Cheney

 

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

51%

11

7

31

(Republicans) 1994 Mar 28-30^

49%

21

16

14

^ Based on 466 Republicans



B.Arizona Senator John McCain

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

57%

14

6

23

(NA) 2000 Apr 28-30

61%

18

6

15

(NA) 2000 Mar 10-12

57%

28

6

9

(NA) 2000 Feb 25-27

66%

18

5

11

(NA) 2000 Feb 20-21

65%

17

7

11

(NA) 2000 Feb 4-6

67%

12

8

13

(NA) 2000 Jan 17-19

51%

17

10

22

(NA) 1999 Dec 9-12

57%

11

14

18

(NA) 1999 Oct 21-24

37%

12

30

21

(NA) 1999 Apr 13-14

35%

12

28

25

(NA) 1999 Feb 19-21

27%

8

44

21



C. Retired General Colin Powell

 

Favorable

Unfavorable

Never heard of

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

81%

6

4

9

(NA) 2000 Apr 28-30

78%

8

7

7

(NA) 1997 Apr 18-20

77%

7

7

9

(RV) 1996 Aug 14-16

74%

13

4

9

(NA) 1995 Nov 6-8

67%

13

5

15

(NA) 1995 Sep 22-24

64%

13

6

17

(NA) 1995 Jul 20-23

73%

6

7

14

(NA) 1995 Apr 17-19

72%

9

7

12

(NA) 1994 Mar 28-30

66%

11

9

14

(NA) 1994 Jan 15-17

72%

7

11

10

(NA) 1993 Sep 10-12

70%

8

--

22

(NA) 1993 Jan 29-31

71%

9

--

20



(RV) Registered Voters
(NA) National Adults

How would you rate Bush's expected choice of Former Defense Secretary Dick Cheney for vice president? Would you rate this choice as -- excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?

 

Excellent

Pretty
good

Only
fair

Poor

No
opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

10%

45

26

8

11

Gore Voters

6%

32

37

11

14

Bush Voters

15%

61

15

4

5



 

Excellent/
Pretty good

Only fair/
Poor

No
opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

55%

34

11

1988 Aug 19-21 (Quayle)^

44%

52

4

(RV) Registered Voters
^ Based on 1,311 Likely Voters
Wording: How would you rate the choice of Senator Dan Quayle of Indiana for vice president -- excellent, pretty good, only fair, or poor?
(Source: Louis Harris and Associates)



If George W. Bush selects Dick Cheney as his running mate, would you be more likely to vote for George W. Bush for president in November, less likely, or will it not have much effect on your vote?

 

More likely

Less likely

Not much effect

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

14%

10

72

4

Gore Voters

7%

17

73

3

Bush Voters

21%

5

72

2

Gore, 1996^^^

NA

NA

NA

NA

Kemp, 1996^^^

26%

8

63

3

Gore, 1992^

33%

8

57

2

Quayle, 1992^^^

6%

25

68

1

Bentsen, 1988^

26%

9

60

5

Quayle, 1988^^

10%

10

73

7



^ Wording: "Does the choice of Senator Bentsen/Al Gore as Dukakis'/Clinton's running mate make you more inclined to vote for the Democratic ticket, less inclined or doesn't it make any difference to you?"
(Source: Time magazine poll, August, 1988; CNN/Time poll, July 9, 1992)

^^ Wording: "Does Bush's selection of Dan Quayle as his running mate make you more or less likely to vote for Bush in November, or doesn't it make a difference?"
(Source: USA Today poll, August 17-18, 1988)

^^^ Wording: "Does having Dick Cheney/Jack Kemp/Dan Quayle as his running mate make you more likely to vote for George W. Bush/Bob Dole/George Bush in November, less likely, or will it not have much effect on your vote?"
(Source: CNN/USA Today/Gallup polls from August 11, 1996 and August 10-12, 1992)

Based on what you know about Dick Cheney, do you think he is qualified to serve as president if it becomes necessary, or not?

 

Yes, qualified

No, not qualified

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

57%

18

25

Gore Voters

44%

31

25

Bush Voters

73%

7

20

1996 Aug 11 (Gore)

60%

34

6

1996 Aug 11 (Kemp)

61%

16

23

1992 Jul 24-26 (Gore)

64%

19

17

1992 Jul 24-26 (Quayle)

32%

62

6



Do you think a choice by George W. Bush of Dick Cheney as his vice presidential running mate would reflect favorably or unfavorably on Bush's ability to make important presidential decisions?

 

Favorably

Unfavorably

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

64%

15

21

Gore Voters

53%

24

23

Bush Voters

80%

7

13

1992 Jul 8-9 ^ (Gore)

70%

11

19

1988 Aug 29-30 ^^ (Quayle)

38%

46

16

^ Wording: Do you think that Bill Clinton's choice of Al Gore as his (1992) vice-presidential running mate reflects favorably or unfavorably on Clinton's ability to make important presidential decisions?
(Source: Time/CNN/Yankelovich Clancy Shulman Poll)

^^ Wording: Do you think that George Bush's choice of Senator Dan Quayle as his (1988) vice-presidential running mate reflects favorably or unfavorably on Bush's ability to make important presidential decisions?
(Source: Time/Yankelovich Clancy Shulman Poll)



Now, suppose for a moment that George W. Bush had selected Arizona Senator John McCain as his vice-presidential running mate. Suppose that the presidential election were being held today, and it included Al Gore as the Democratic candidate, George W. Bush and John McCain as the Republican candidates, Pat Buchanan, as the Reform Party candidate, and Ralph Nader and Winona LaDuke as the Green Party candidates. Would you vote for -- [RANDOM ORDER: Al Gore, the Democrat, George W. Bush and John McCain the Republican candidate, Pat Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, (or) Ralph Nader, the Green Party candidate]?

As of today do you lean toward Gore, the Democrat, Bush and John McCain, the Republicans, Buchanan, the Reform Party candidate, or Nader and LaDuke, the Green Party candidates?

 

 

Al
Gore

Bush/
McCain

Pat Buchanan

Nader/
LaDuke

OTHER
(vol.)

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

           

Registered Voters

39%

52

2

4

0

3

             

Gore Voters

82%

10

3

5

0

*

Bush/Cheney Voters

2%

93

2

1

*

2



(vol.) Volunteered response

As you may know, Dick Cheney had three heart attacks in the 1970's and 1980's and had quadruple bypass heart surgery in 1988. A recent doctor's examination indicated that he has no current heart problems. Are you concerned or not concerned that Cheney's medical history would prevent him from serving effectively as president if it becomes necessary?

 

Yes, concerned

No, not concerned

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

29%

70

1

Gore Voters

38%

62

*

Bush Voters

20%

79

1



As you may know, George W. Bush was head of a small oil company in Texas earlier in his career, and Dick Cheney has been the head of a large oil company more recently. Would this fact make you more likely or less likely to support a possible Bush/Cheney ticket or would that have no effect on your vote?

 

More likely

Less likely

No effect

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

2%

20

76

2

Gore Voters

3%

31

65

1

Bush Voters

2%

9

87

2



Finally, what is your personal reaction, would you be excited by Bush's choice of Cheney, or not?

 

Yes, excited

No, not excited

No opinion

(RV) 2000 Jul 24

Registered Voters

23%

65

12

Gore Voters

11%

80

9

Bush Voters

36%

51

13

(RV) Registered Voters
* Less than 0.5%

Survey Methods
The results reported here are based on telephone interviews with a randomly selected national sample of 644 adults, 18 years and older, conducted July 24, 2000. For results based on this sample, one can say with 95 percent confidence that the maximum error attributable to sampling and other random effects is plus or minus 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.

Get Articles in Related Topics:


Gallup http://www.gallup.com/poll/2707/Initial-Reaction-Americans-Bush-Choice-Cheney-Positive.aspx
Gallup World Headquarters, 901 F Street, Washington, D.C., 20001, U.S.A
+1 202.715.3030